The United States attempted to stir up unity against China among QU members on Friday and said that Beijing “has been acting more aggressively” and “repressively” in the region. While responding to a question on confrontation with China in Indo-Pacific during the 4th QU Foreign Minsiters’ meet in Melbourne, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “Nothing is inevitable”.
Alongside External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Blinken said, “We share concerns in recent years, China has been acting more repressively, and more aggressively in the region, and indeed, potentially, beyond.”
“But, as I said, what brings us together what unites us is an affirmative vision for what the future can bring,” the US Secretary of State added.
Further, Blinken also said that QU partners are united with each other by an “affirmative vision for what the future can bring” and a “commitment to defend the rules-based system that we have spent tremendous time and effort building,” he said. It is pertinent to note that Blinken’s trip to Australia to attend the QU Foreign Minister’s meet reinforces America’s interests in Asia along with its intent to push back against China’s growing assertiveness in the region. He will also be visiting Fiji to discuss concerns over North Korea with Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Hawaii.
Blinken’s remarks on Friday came a day after the Chinese Foreign Ministry, this week, accused the US of using QU to force other nations to accept the standards of American democracy. Meanwhile, Australia has also suffered trade retaliation in recent years from China after making Beijing furious by outlawing covert foreign interference in domestic politics and banning Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Morrison said he felt reassured by shared commitment of QU
Amid China’s aggression, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that he felt reassured by the shared commitment of QU against coercion after meeting with the foreign ministers. The Australian PM said, “The things we discussed today are principally how we will continue to always stand up for our values … which is what unites us most…In doing so, we stand up to those who would seek to coerce us. And as I understand from our QU partners, none of you understand better than we do. And that is a great comfort to us that the coercion and the pressure that Australia has been placed on, we greatly appreciate your support.”
Additionally, Blinken also noted that Friday’s QU foreign minister’s meet “is about building on progress. One is, ending the COVID-19 pandemic together. We are making progress towards our goal of producing 1 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2022 in addition.”