Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Inheriting the initiative from his predecessor, the government of new Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide is taking concrete steps to realise Tokyo’s strategic vision to promote stability and prosperity in this important geopolitical area of the world.
The meeting in Tokyo on October 6 was the second ministerial meeting of a group of four countries including Japan, the US, Australia and India, since the Diamond Quartet officially began operating in 2019.
This was also the first major foreign affairs action of the new government in Japan and was a rare international event held face to face in the context the COVID-19 pandemic still raging.
Notably, the event took place at a time when many challenges and problems are emerging in relations among countries in the region. Therefore, the hosting of the meeting by Japan, as well as the discussion on contentrelated to the “strategic quartet”, are of special interest to the international public.
The outstanding commitment at the meeting was to expand the four-way cooperation to realise the vision of a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. The world in recent years has faced many challenges in almost all fields, especially increasing strategic competition and the “Diamond Quartet” affirmed their common goal of strengthening the international and regional rules-based order.
Not only strengthening their four-party linkage, the “Diamond Quartet” also affirmed the expansion of their partnership to build an open Indo-Pacific region on the basis of mutual respect.
Priority areas for cooperation were mentioned, such as trade, cybersecurity, high-quality infrastructuraldevelopment and, most urgently, coordination in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tokyo’s effort to hold a four-party meeting in the context of the complicated developments of the pandemic clearly shows PM Suga’s determination to implement his predecessor’s important foreign initiatives. Immediately after taking office in mid-September, the first foreign exchanges PM Suga conducted were with leaders of the quartet member states.
The Japanese leader affirmed that the US, Australia and India are all key partners in Tokyo’s sstrategy in Asia. In particular, the Japan – US alliance, the Japan – India strategic and global partnership, and the US-Japan-Australia trilateral security pact were identified asimportant foundations for the implementation of the goals in the Indo-Pacific vision.
With a strong foundation of bilateral relationships and links within the quartet, Japan has also expanded its global partnerships, seeking support and cooperation to implement a new strategic vision in the region. Of which, Europe is one of Tokyo’s priority options.
During conversations between PM Suga and leaders of the European Union, Tokyo’s goals for the Indo-Pacific region received wide support, opening up new prospects of cooperation between Japan, France and Germany – the leading countries of the EU, in sharing the idea of strengthening an open and balanced order in the region, as well as with the UK which is seeking new economic and commercial partners in the “post-Brexit” era.
The vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific affirmed by the “Diamond Quartet” aims towards peace, stability and prosperity for a large region. But doubts remain, as the four countries still have different approaches even though they share common values and goals.
Therefore, in order to fully realise this initiative, the parties concerned need to ensure multilateral, open, comprehensive and transparent cooperation, consistent with the general trend of peace and cooperation for development and mutual benefit.