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The bloc thought that it could dispel suspicions of its motives by emphasizing that it came together for humanitarian reasons almost two decades ago but that narrative is nothing more than an attempt to deceive the rest of the world.
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, popularly known as the Quad, held its first-ever leadership summit on Friday via virtual means. The leaders of the US, Australia, India, and Japan discussed a slew of issues that concern their mutual interests in the broad space that they describe as the Indo-Pacific. The bloc has long been suspected of tacitly harboring anti-Chinese intentions, but its leaders attempted to clarity that this isn’t the entirety of its purpose in their joint statement that was released after their video conference. In fact, they didn’t even directly address China at all, though they did imply that it was discussed during their meeting.
The only indirect reference to China was the joint statement’s claims that its members “will continue to prioritize the role of international law in the maritime domain, particularly as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and facilitate collaboration, including in maritime security, to meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas.” Nevertheless, this is still very significant since it directly affects China’s national security interests in those two bodies of water considering its territorial claims there that are contested by several other countries.
The Quad’s joint statement also pointed out that this bloc was supposedly created after the 2004 tsunami, though without mentioning the growing consensus in their countries over the past few years that it’s actually a platform for attempting to contain China. Their talk about shared interests in the spheres of trade, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, cybersecurity, COVID-19, investment, and other such topics actually seem to be a smokescreen for strengthening coordination between them on these fronts in order to more rigorously compete with China.
Of particular concern is the Quad’s references to a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, “democratic values”, and “territorial integrity”,