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US Secretary of State Pompeo to visit Japan


US Secretary of State Pompeo to visit Japan

Pompeo Japan Reuters
Photo: Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Japan today to meet with his Japanese, Indian and Australian counterparts for the second ministerial-level gathering of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (The Quad).

A past lack of commitment from India and Australia, stemming from a perceived imbalance in risk sharing against Chinese backlash, has made the group hesitant to formalise the forum. New lows in US-China relations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and military exercises in the South China Sea make this meeting an important inflection point for the future direction of the group.

Today’s talks will likely see India formally invite Australia to join the other Quad members in the annual Malabar military exercise, uniting all four members for the first time since the groups’ founding in 2007. The unified exercise would serve as a message to Beijing, balancing China’s recent aggression in the South China Sea. In the long term, if Australia accepts the invitation, expect the Quad to issue statements formalising the forum and defining their regional goals.  China will respond by testing the Quad’s resolve through increasing the frequency of military exercises and doubling down on its territorial claims in the region.

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