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US, Japan, Aus, India warn against Indo-Pacific conflict

US, Japan, Aus, India warn against Indo-Pacific conflict

dpa
Tokyo
The United States, Japan, Australia and India want to prevent a conflict like the one in Ukraine from occurring in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We strongly oppose any coercive, provocative or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo and increase tensions in the area,” a joint statement issued at the end of a summit of the four so-called Quad states in Tokyo said on Tuesday.
The statement comes against the backdrop of China’s growing geopolitical ambitions in the region. US President Joe Biden had warned China against an attack on Taiwan on the eve of the summit with an unusually clear pledge of military support.
Biden described the Russian war in Ukraine as a global challenge.
“[T]his is more than just a European issue; it’s a global issue,” Biden said in Tokyo on Tuesday. “At the same time, we’re navigating a dark hour in our shared history.”
Though he met separately with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the summit, Biden did not explicitly address India’s controversial stance on Russia at the event. New Delhi is neutral on the Ukraine war and does not support sanctions.
However, the US and other Western countries are trying to convince India to distance itself somewhat from Russia. India has traditionally had good relations with Moscow and buys a lot of Russian armaments.
The statement at the end of the summit of the four leaders only said that they had discussed their “respective responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the ongoing tragic humanitarian crisis, and assessed its implications for the Indo-Pacific.”
Biden and Modi were joined at the summit by Japan’s head of government, Fumio Kishida, and the newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Together, they advocate for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The countries launched a new initiative to improve maritime surveillance and to combat illegal fishing in the region. The project will make it possible to ensure “faster, more far-reaching and more accurate” maritime surveillance in near real time, the White House said.
The data would also be made available to partner states in South-East Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Islands to ensure “a free and open Indo-Pacific.” Ships that deliberately switch off their locators to avoid being caught should also be able to be tracked better with the system.
China is often accused of tolerating or even encouraging illegal fishing in territorial waters of other states in the region.
The Indo-Pacific roughly encompasses the region from the Indian Ocean to the northern Pacific Ocean, which includes most of Asia and extends to the west coast of the US. The first in-person Quad summit took place in Washington last September.
According to the White House, there have also been two Quad video summits. The next Quad summit is scheduled take place in Australia next year.