pompeo

File photo of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (ANI photo)

TOKYO, Japan (ANI) – External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar Oct. 6 met his American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, on the sidelines of the Quad ministerial meeting and said India and United States will work together for stability and prosperity in the Indian Pacific.

"Began my Tokyo visit with a bilateral meeting with @SecPompeo. Pleased to see the progress of our partnership in so many fields. Will work together for stability and prosperity in the Indo- Pacific," Jaishankar wrote on Twitter. Pompeo and Jaishankar are in Tokyo to attend the second foreign ministers' meeting of the Quadrilateral grouping (India, U.S., Australia, and Japan).

This grouping is seen as a response to China's growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

It will be the first meeting of Quad foreign ministers amid border tensions between India and China.

A meeting of Quad leaders was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last year.

The Quad meeting is expected to focus on strategic and security challenges in the region and joint strategy is likely to be discussed.

The India-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.

China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan have counterclaims in the South China Sea. Beijing's rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indian-Pacific.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, several concerned nations are already deepening security ties with each other and the U.S. to mitigate the threat.

In recent years, Japan has expressed increasing concerns regarding Beijing's activities in the region especially concerning the situation with the disputed Senkaku islands, known in China as the Diaoyudao islands, and claimed by Beijing to be Chinese territory.

Associated Press adds: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, said they will lead a regional initiative called “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” aimed at countering China’s growing assertiveness, a main issue they will discuss with the top envoys from Australia and India.

The first in-person talks among the foreign ministers since the coronavirus pandemic began also brings together Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Motegi, opening his working lunch with Pompeo ahead of the so-called Quad talks, said, “I hope Japan and the U.S. will lead the international society to achieve the Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

He also said the Japan-U.S. alliance continues to be “the cornerstone of peace and stability in the region” under new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga who took office on Sept. 16, vowing to carry on his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s hawkish security and diplomatic stance.

Pompeo welcomed Suga’s recent description of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific as the foundation of regional peace and stability and that “I could not agree him more.”

Pompeo held separate talks with his Australian counterpart, Payne, and shared concerns about “China’s malign activity in the region,” while agreeing on the importance for the Quad discussions to “the promotion of peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” according to the State Department.

On his way to Tokyo, Pompeo told reporters that the four countries hope to have some “significant achievements” at the meeting, but did not elaborate.

Japanese officials say they will discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the Free and Open Indo-Pacific initiative for greater security and economic cooperation that Japan and the U.S. have been pushing to bring together “like-minded” countries that share concerns about China’s growing assertiveness and influence.

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