US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo on October 6.

Under the leadership of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, participants in the quadrilateral security dialogue, known as “Quad”, sent Tuesday, October 6 in Tokyo a message of mistrust to China. “It is more than ever essential to work together to protect our people and our partnerships against exploitation, corruption and coercion by the Chinese Communist Party”, launched Mr. Pompeo, faithful to the line – and the tone – set by the American President, Donald Trump. He also called for institutionalizing the “Quad”, opening it up to other countries and making it a real security structure.

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Less direct, her counterparts, the Australian Marise Payne, the Indian Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and the Japanese Toshimitsu Motegi, nevertheless insisted on the creation of a region “Free and open indo-pacific”, a key expression of the concern aroused in the four countries by China’s attitude on territorial issues in the East and South China Seas or in Hong Kong.

Also devoted to cybersecurity, terrorism and North Korea, the meeting was a priority for Mike Pompeo. His tour of Asia was to take him to South Korea and Mongolia. Having chosen to cut it short because of concerns about Mr. Trump’s health, he only kept the Japanese stage. “The United States is committed to promoting the Quad, a clear attempt to counter the growing influence of China ”, says Katsuji Nakagawa, columnist for the daily Nihon keizai.

Diplomatic and security cooperation

The Tokyo meeting is the second at ministerial level of the “Quad” after that of September 2019 in New York. This format was created in 2004 to coordinate humanitarian aid after the tsunami in Southeast Asia before evolving, in 2007, under the impetus in particular of the former Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, towards diplomatic and security, quickly considered by Beijing as an attempt to contain it. Worried about their links with China, Australia and India had distanced themselves before moving closer towards the end of the 2010s.

In September, India signed a military agreement with Japan. She had done so in June with Australia. Canberra, for its part, wishes to participate in naval maneuvers called “Malabar” organized by the United States, India and Japan.

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The October 6 meeting also seems to indicate a tightening towards China of the diplomatic orientations of the new Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga. Tokyo must spare its economic interests, which are closely dependent on its neighbor, but refuses to give in to the dispute over the disputed islets of Senkaku-Diaoyu.

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