Washington [US], February 18 (ANI): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed with his Australian, Indian and Japanese counterparts -- the Quad -- the necessity to promote freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a readout of the conversation on Thursday.
Blinken participated in the third India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting today with his counterparts Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar.
"The participants reaffirmed their mutual support for ASEAN centrality," The US Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
In January this year, China had passed a law that gave power to its coastguard to fire on foreign vessels and demolish structures built in disputed waters.
"They reiterated their commitment to the Quad meeting at least annually at the ministerial level and on a regular basis 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," he added.
The ministers also discussed Quadrilateral ("Quad") cooperation on COVID-19 response and recovery and climate change and committed to working together to address these global challenges, the department spokesperson said further.
At the third Quad Ministerial Meeting on Thursday, India reiterated upholding the rule of law and a transition to democracy in Myanmar, whose military recently took over the country in a coup, arrested its civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and announced a year-long state of emergency. Price said all ministers discussed the restoration of democracy in the country.
"The Ministers also discussed countering disinformation, counterterrorism, maritime security, the urgent need to restore the democratically elected government in Burma, and the priority of strengthening democratic resilience in the broader region," Price added. (ANI)