In a major setback for China, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison extended his support to Lithuania during the 4th Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting, held in Melbourne on Friday. While speaking at the meeting, Morrison asserted the country is seeking to work with as many like-minded nations that could counter China’s “aggression” as well as “monopoly” in business. Notably, the Australian Prime Minister made these remarks in the presence of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on February 11.

“Just this week, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and I met with the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. And we stand with them. They understand what’s going on, like those sitting around here today understand what’s going on. And it’s incredibly important that our plan as a government, as a country has been to seek to work with as many like-minded nations as we possibly can,” Morrison said. Further, the Australian top leader said that “like-mindedness doesn’t always necessarily relate to how our systems govern.” “But like-mindedness, an open independent Indo Pacific, like-mindedness about free trade, and the opportunity to have human rights observed in our region, and to address the global challenges of COVID and climate,” added Morrison.

“The like-minded countries that unite the four of us is based on practising the most successful liberal democracies,” the Australian Prime Minister noted.

Australia, Lithuania join hands to counter China’s economic coercion

Notably, PM Morrison’s statement came nearly two days after Australia and Lithuania agreed to step up cooperation on the challenges posed due to China’s aggressive policies. On February 9, Wednesday, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis and his Australian counterpart Marise Payne met at Parliament House. The report said that the Australian exporters lost a hefty amount due to restrictions on the export of wine, beef, crayfish and barley. As per reports, the Chinese government has been taking “blind action” due to deteriorating relations with Beijing. On the other hand, China’s relations with Lithuania deteriorated in recent times after the latter agreed to name Taiwan’s office in its capital Vilnius as “Taiwan” instead of Chinese Taipei.

Image: AP