Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa Before Their Meeting


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning, everyone.  It’s really wonderful to be with my colleagues, my friends here this morning.  I think our meeting today, including the document we’re about to sign is evidence that the Quad is strong and getting stronger, strengthening our multilateral cooperation.  I think our four countries know very well that the significant challenges that we face, as well as the opportunities that are before us, demand more than ever that we work together.  No one of us alone can do what is necessary to meet these challenges and seize these opportunities.  And that’s the inspiration behind the Quad.  This is the first time that the foreign ministers from the Quad countries have gotten together at the United Nations General Assembly, so my hope is that this will become a regular feature of these meetings.

And we’re very pleased to sign the document that we have before us, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief guidelines.  Simply put, this lays the groundwork for all of us to cooperate and coordinate even more on, for example, joint disaster responses.  We’re looking forward to continuing to explore the many ways that the Quad enables us to deepen our cooperation.  Our leaders have set out a very significant agenda for us when they’ve met.  We’re following through on a lot of that work; so are our colleagues.  Today is one more manifestation of that.

Penny.

FOREIGN MINISTER WONG:  Thank you very much, Tony.  And can I express publicly what we have privately expressed, which is our condolences – and thank you for being here at this difficult time.  And such a pleasure to be here with our colleagues.  We first met, from my perspective, in Tokyo just a few hours after we were sworn in as a new government.  And we renewed, as a new government – with India, Japan and the U.S. – Australia’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient, and to a Quad which is a force for good, a Quad which is committed to bringing tangible benefits to the region and ensuring a region in which – which is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and in which sovereignty is respected, where countries are free to make their own choices.

None of us in this room want to see a region in which countries are not able to make those sovereign choices, where any one country or any one perspective dominates.  We do know our region has been reshaped economically and strategically, and we are here because we want to work with the countries represented before you to better navigate this period of change together.  So this is the heart of the Quad – to create the region we all aspire to – and it’s a great honor and privilege to be here with my counterparts today.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER JAISHANKAR:  Thank you, Tony, for bringing us together, and I join Penny in conveying our condolences.  I think this is a particularly timely meeting because the world is going through a very difficult period.  We’ve had a few years with the Quad, the global repercussions of the Ukraine conflict – we are seeing climate events and emergencies, probably on an unprecedented scale.  So given the turbulent times, I think it’s particularly important that we the Quad go further in the constructive agenda that we have set for ourselves, that we work together on the delivery of public goods, that our efforts – and particularly what we are signing today, the HADR partnership, which we discussed and finalized in Tokyo, is I think extremely timely.

We’ve got other initiatives in the making, some a little further in the pipeline, like the STEM fellowship.  We’re working on the economic framework, but we have many other partners beyond Quad on that, on the maritime domain awareness.  So I completely concur with you.  I think it’s a great idea that we meet regularly on the sidelines of the UNGA, but in our respective countries as well.  And today, I think this is also an opportunity for us together to discuss how to strengthen the UN-led multilateral system.  Once again, thank you for convening the meeting.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yogi.

FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI:  Thank you.  Thank you, Tony, for hosting this, and also let me join Jai and Penny for the word of condolences for your passed father.  Today, the world is witnessing direct attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force.  The free and open international order based on the rule of law is under threat.  So it’s extremely significant for us to demonstrate together to the international community our firm commitment to the principles of the UN Charter and free, open Indo-Pacific (inaudible).  At the same time, (inaudible) cannot be achieved without working together with the countries in region.

I am confident that the guidelines for Quad partnership on HADR here will further strengthen our collaboration to effectively respond to disasters in the Indo-Pacific region.  So we would like to further promote cooperation that contributes to solving issues in the region.  Thank you very much.



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