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13 November 2017, 06:16 | Kelvin Horton
Donald Trump gestures towards Xi Jinping, as US First Lady Melania Trump and Xi’s wife Peng Liyuan look on Pic AFP
There have been concerns over China's growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific and the issue was understood to have figured in a meeting of officials from India, the US, Japan and Australia today under the proposed Quadrilateral coalition of the four countries.
The formation of a quadrilateral security dialogue comprising India, the US, Australia and Japan was first mooted around 10 years ago but it did not see the light of day.
Indicating the simmering regional tension with China and Beijing's assertiveness over the South China Sea issue, a statement from the Australian Foreign Ministry informed that freedom of navigation figured at the 'Quad.' It said, "upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for worldwide law, freedom of navigation and overflight; increase (d) connectivity; challenges of countering terrorism and upholding maritime security in the Indo-Pacific" were also discussed.
Responding to a question about persistent references of Indo-Pacific by the US and Japan saying that they want to establish leaders' dialogue mechanism between India, US, Japan and Australia and Tokyo's willingness to conduct cooperation with China under the new concept, Geng said China has noted the Japanese statement in this regard.
Modi will also participate in the ASEAN business and investment summit as well as a meeting of leaders of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
He added that it was China's "consistent foreign policy" that it would "welcome development of friendly cooperation between relevant countries, and we hope this will not be directed at a third party".
A statement from the ministry emphasised, "a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large".
Beijing has reacted warily to the "Indo-Pacific" approach, viewing it as aimed at supporting a more prominent role for India in an interconnected region and, some Chinese analysts say, also aimed at diluting China's influence. The alliance is being seen by some in Beijing as the latest effort to counter an increasingly assertive China and its aggressive foreign policy in the region and beyond.
The officials examined ways to achieve common goals and address shared challenges in the region. "We will not be able to compete with the kind of terms that China offers, but countries have to decide: What are they willing to pay to secure their sovereignty and their future control of their economies And we've had those discussions with them, as well", he said.
Also part of the discussions, said Japan, were proliferation threats, "including North Korea's nuclear and missile issues, against which maximized pressure needs to be applied, ensuring freedom of navigation and maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, and countering terrorism and other issues".
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