May 24, 2022

Quad leaders vow to oppose attempts to ‘change status quo by force’, with China and Russia on their minds

Featuring Jacob Stokes

Source: South China Morning Post

Journalist Maria Siow

Leaders of the four Quad nations vowed on Tuesday to oppose all attempts to “change the status quo by force” in the Indo-Pacific, as concerns about China and internal differences on Russia’s Ukraine war loomed over their highly-anticipated meeting.

In a joint statement after their talks in Tokyo, US President Joe Biden and his counterparts from Australia, India and Japan made references to the militarisation of “disputed features” and the use of coastguard vessels and maritime militia “to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities”.

The carefully worded statement did not explicitly name China or Russia. With India thus far refraining from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the statement also made no reference to Moscow’s aggression. Instead, it noted that the leaders “discussed our respective responses” to the conflict and “ongoing tragic humanitarian crisis”.

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Jacob Stokes, a fellow of the Centre for a New American Security think tank’s Indo-Pacific security programme, said tensions with China were escalating because of Beijing’s provocative actions and rejection of international norms and laws, not because of steps taken by the US and its allies and partners.

“Xi Jinping doesn’t seem to understand or care, but [China’s] policies under his leadership are the driving force behind the Quad’s resurgence,” he said.

Nonetheless, the lack of pointed comments directed at China suggested the Quad nations have an eye on not upsetting other Asian nations that are eager to maintain cordial ties with all major powers, analysts said.

Read the full story and more from The South China Morning Post.

Authors

  • Jacob Stokes

    Fellow, Indo-Pacific Security Program

    Jacob Stokes is a Fellow for the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS, where his work focuses on U.S.-China relations, Chinese foreign policy, East Asian security affairs, an...