BY FRANK YUE
With the rising threat from communist China in the Indo-Pacific region, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the United States, Japan, India, and Australia has become increasingly important. Cooperation among its members has gone beyond economy, military, and supply chains. And the United States and Japan are also winning over more countries to join the Quad or participate in joint military exercises.
On Friday, May 21, Joe Biden will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House, Biden’s second face-to-face summit with a foreign leader since his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in April.
This highly anticipated summit signals how important South Korea is to Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy. According to Forbes, Seoul is likely to become an addition to the Quad.
Shortly after the Biden administration took office, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan indicated that the new administration would continue the Quad mechanism. White House Indo-Pacific Affairs Coordinator Kurt Campbell also said in January that the United States should expand the Quad and focus on military deterrence to China.
Subsequently, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed interest in joining the Quad, according to The Telegraph.
On Feb. 18, 2021, Antony Blinken held his first virtual meeting since the presidential election with counterparts from Japan, India, and Australia in an effort to curb an increasingly aggressive China. On March 12, the Quad had an online summit meeting for the first time and established working groups for epidemic prevention, cutting-edge technology, and climate change.
In early April, the Quad nations set a precedent in joining a France-led military exercise in hopes of strengthening ties in the Indo-Pacific region to counter the Chinese communist regime.
The alliance’s activities have formed a substantial deterrent to the Chinese regime, which led to outcry from Beijing.
On May 18, the China’s ambassador to Japan, Kong Xuanyou, accused the Quad of having a “Cold War mentality” and being “100 percent outdated” in an interview with Tokyo-based Kyodo News. He urged Japan to “keep a good balance” between its relations with China and the United States.
On May 10, Li Jiming, the Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, pressured the south Asian country not to join the Quad lest bilateral ties suffer “substantial damage.”
The next day, however, Li’s Bangladeshi counterpart, A. K. Abdul Momen, pushed back.
“We are an independent and sovereign state,” Momen said.
“We are an independent and sovereign state. We decide our foreign policy,” Momen said. “But yes, any country can uphold its position. But we will decide what we will do. This is a matter of the interest of our country.”
“We did not expect such behavior from China,” he added.
US, Japan Considering More Countries to Join the Quad
In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has eroded Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” and conducted increasingly frequent military operations around the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and the Senkaku Islands, also known as the Diaoyu Islands in China.
In January, China introduced the Coast Guard Law, which took effect on Feb. 1 and authorized its coast guard to use military force if necessary. China was accused by neighbors Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines of attempting to challenge the established international order.
The Quad is viewed as Asia’s NATO to effectively counter China’s ambition in the region. Both the United States and Japan are planning to attract more partnering countries to join the alliance.
After a visit to the United States starting from April 16, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was scheduled to visit India and the Philippines to foster closer military ties. However, his plan was aborted due to a sudden CCP virus spike in India.
Expert: Japan’s Positive Role
Last month, Wang Zhin-sheng, secretary-general of the Asia-Pacific Elite Interchange Association, said in an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times that Japan had recently been playing an active role in connecting with Asia-Pacific countries within the Quad.
“Japan’s action is to contain the CCP,” Wang said. The move was due to China’s passage of its controversial coast guard law, which poses a huge threat to Indo-Pacific countries, especially Japan.
Wang also predicted that future cooperation in the region will no longer be limited to military and security strategies, which is expected to expand to economy, technology, pharmaceutical manufacture, and others.
For the United States and Japan, Wang added, Taiwan could also be an integral part of their readjusted Asia-Pacific strategy; and the absence of Taiwan would lead to an obvious gap in the First Island Chain.