Japan, U.S., India, Australia call for return of democracy in Myanmar

TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Foreign ministers of the so-called Quad grouping of countries seen as a forum to stand up to China in Asia agreed that democracy must be restored quickly in Myanmar and to strongly oppose attempts to upset the status quo by force, Japan's foreign minister said on Thursday. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts from India, Japan and Australia met virtually for the first time under the Biden administration and discussed Myanmar, COVID-19, climate, and Indo-Pacific territorial and navigation issues, the State Department said in a statement.

Reuters February 19, 2021 00:11:24 IST
Japan, U.S., India, Australia call for return of democracy in Myanmar

Japan US India Australia call for return of democracy in Myanmar

TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Foreign ministers of the so-called Quad grouping of countries seen as a forum to stand up to China in Asia agreed that democracy must be restored quickly in Myanmar and to strongly oppose attempts to upset the status quo by force, Japan's foreign minister said on Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts from India, Japan and Australia met virtually for the first time under the Biden administration and discussed Myanmar, COVID-19, climate, and Indo-Pacific territorial and navigation issues, the State Department said in a statement.

"We’ve all agreed on the need to swiftly restore the democratic system (in Myanmar)," and to strongly oppose all unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters.

"I stressed that, with challenges to existing international order continuing in various fields, the role we, the countries that share basic values and are deeply committed to fortifying free and open international order based on the rule of law, play is only getting bigger," Motegi said.

The State Department said Blinken and his counterparts discussed counterterrorism, countering disinformation, maritime security and "the urgent need to restore the democratically elected government in Burma."

They also addressed the "the priority of strengthening democratic resilience in the broader region," it said.

The State Department said the four reiterated a commitment for the Quad to meet at least annually at ministerial levels and regularly at senior and working levels "to strengthen cooperation on advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including support for freedom of navigation and territorial integrity."

Myanmar's military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a Feb. 1 coup. The United States has responded with sanctions and urged other countries to follow suit.

President Joe Biden has said working closely with allies will be key to his strategy toward China, in which he has said the United States will aim to "out-compete" Beijing.

Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed in a telephone call last week to strengthen Indo-Pacific security through the Quad.

The United States and other Quad members are concerned about China's extensive maritime claims in Asia, including in the South China Sea, where Beijing has established military outposts in disputed waters. In the East China Sea, China claims a group of uninhabited islets administered by Japan, a dispute that has plagued bilateral relations for years.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo and David Brunnstrom and Doina Chiacu in Washigton; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Steve Orlofsky)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.