Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne affirmed strengthening of a free, open and rules-based international
order, the Japanese government said in a statement issued after a meeting in Tokyo.
Pompeo, too, called for deeper collaboration with India, Japan, and Australia
as a bulwark against China's growing regional influence. In comments before the start of the Quad
meeting, he said: "As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the Chinese Communist Party's exploitation, corruption and coercion...We see it in the South and East China
Seas, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Strait."
India, according to reports, is expected to invite Australia
to take part in an annual naval drill, expanding what has been a trilateral event with the US and Japan.
Suga, Japan's new prime minister, said Quad's “free and open Indo-Pacific” initiative, a concept to counter China's growing assertiveness, is more important than ever amid challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic. " This is exactly why right now is the time that we must further deepen our coordination with as many countries as possible that share our vision."
Beijing has denounced the Quad
as an attempt to contain its development.