Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Friday sought to draw an analogy between legendary English rock band The Beatles with the Quad referring to the grouping of Japan, Australia, the US and India as more of a “soft Beatles” where “every member may release a solo album of their own”!
Hayashi who was not present at yesterday’s G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting arrived in the national capital Delhi early this moring to attend the meeting of foreign ministers from the Quad nations.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue 2023 where all Quad foreign ministers participated, Hayashi said, “This is not a band like the Beatles where everyone jointly releases an album every few years as a rock band… The members are fixed and they always play together for 10 years. This is more like a soft group within the Beatles, and like Paul McCartney may release a solo of their own.”
Hayashi picked up from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken referring to ORF president Samir Saran who was moderating the discussion as “an honorary member of the Quad… A sort of fifth Beatle.” Incidentally while Hayashi is a skilled pianist, Blinken has been referred to as an amateur guitarist.
“This is the situation we are facing. It is nice to talk over Asia and the surrounding area because we have a trust between the four of us [Quad]. Like I said in the beginning, …such as democracy, freedom and everything. So, without worrying about “big conditions”, we can really freely talk and communicate,” the Japanese minister said.
The Japanese minister said, “for ASEAN we had the 50th Anniversary…That information we can share with four of us here. So any idea relating to that, I can talk with three friends [present] here.
He also said that the Quad group is not a military group and they don’t try to exclude anybody including China.
“We don’t try to exclude anybody (including China). As long as China abides by international norms and laws then there are no conflicting issues between China and the Quad,” the Japanese FM asserted.
China views the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or the Quad with concern and has referred to the grouping as the “Indo-Pacific NATO” and anti-China.
The joint statement issued after the Quad ministerial meeting here today stated that the grouping strongly oppose any “unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions” in the South and East China Seas.
“We recognize that peace and security in the maritime domain underpins the development and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific, and reiterate the importance of respect for sovereignty, consistent with international law. We reiterate the importance of adherence to international law, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the South and East China Seas,” the statement said
“We express serious concern at the militarization of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities,” it said.
The Quad joint statement agreed to strengthen co-operation on maritime surveillance to counter China’s influence across the Indo-Pacific
Meanwhile, Blinken speaking at the same panel as the Japanese foreign minister said that Quad is not a military grouping but is now engaged in working together to help countries to deal with humanitarian situations in natural disasters.
“We are working on things that are really critical,” Blinken said at a panel discussion of the Quad Foreign Ministers themed “The Quad Squad: Power and Purpose of the Polygon” in the national capital.
The Quad Foreign Ministers meet on the sidelines of the eighth edition of the Raisina Dialogue the flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-strategy organised by the Ministry of External Affairs with the Observer Research Foundation. India, the US, Japan and Australia are members of the Quad grouping. (ANI)