This is about the free world versus Chinese authoritarianism, State Department officials say
A senior State Department official cited ‘sudden’ and “gross aggression” by China as a priority of the Quad, in response to a query on whether or not Quad members aside from the U.S. had been much less “forward-leaning” on countering the Chinese menace, and whether or not the U.S. risked alienating the opposite three international locations with its emphasis on China.
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“No. That is the concern. I mean, if you look at the conflict on the — in the Himalayas between China and India, something that has been in the past handled according to unspoken or unwritten rules in the past to prevent these things from getting out of control, and then you look at what happened here recently, where you’ve got actually people beating each other to death — no,” the official mentioned.
“… If you look at the single thing that’s driving all this, it’s a sudden turn toward gross aggression by the Chinese government in its entire periphery. I mean, you take it all the way around the Indo-Pacific and its western borders; you’re seeing things that you haven’t seen before, and these are responding to that,” the official mentioned.
Later, the official reiterated that it was not “not just the U.S. dragging folks [ i.e., India, Australia, Japan] who are maybe unwilling or hesitant to” tackle the challenges that China was posing. “Everybody likeminded is looking at erosion of democracy, of free market economy and all that, and they’re taking action.”
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The feedback, transcripts of which had been launched by the State Department, had been made on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s plane en path to Anchorage, from Japan, the place Mr. Pompeo had met External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and counterparts Toshimitsu Motegi of Japan and Marise Payne of Australia for the second “Quad” Minister-level assembly. In Tokyo, Mr. Pompeo had mentioned it was ‘critical’ for Quad companions to “collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party] exploitation, corruption, and coercion,” in varied geographies together with the Himalayas.
“But we also have to frame the problem correctly. This isn’t about a U.S.-China dispute. This is about the free world versus Chinese authoritarianism,” a second senior State Department official mentioned.
Results oriented multilateralism
Asked on hypothesis by analysts that the Quad gave the impression of an “Asian NATO”, the primary official mentioned wanting on the language underpinning the framework of cooperation was on the to-do record for the international locations.
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“Well, I mean, one of the projects out of this is to think through what those people sort of balk at: hard, specific language here. Yet nonetheless, as I said, the value set, the worldview and all those things, set up a number of follow-on activities that we can — that we can move out with. I mean, one of those is just simple freedom of movement and navigation.”
“The Secretary [Mr. Pompeo] did say earlier today that he would move to institutionalise the framework. But in terms of what does this kind of multilateralism look like, the Secretary has talked at length about results-oriented multilateralism, about … voluntary groupings of likeminded nations who…share common values of democracy, the rule of law, a respect for human rights and individual freedom,” the second official mentioned.