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Asia Minute: Driving Diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific

Xi Jinping China United Nations
Mary Altaffer/AP
Pool AP
China's President Xi Jinping remotely addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in a pre-recorded message, Tuesday Sept. 21, 2021, at UN headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool)

This is a week of international diplomacy as the United Nations holds its General Assembly meetings in New York. Later this week, a smaller gathering of allies in the Indo-Pacific will draw international attention, especially from one nation that’s not invited.

President Biden hosts a meeting with three key allies on Friday — Australia, India and Japan.

It’s the first time the four leaders will meet in person in the grouping formally known as the “quadrilateral security dialogue,” or simply the “Quad.”

The grouping first came together following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

The four countries helped shape recovery and relief efforts after that disaster killed more than a quarter of a million people.

They went on to hold a working-level meeting, and one maritime exercise, but the group dissolved — in large part because of China’s reaction.

In November 2017, the group was revived — with a series of working level meetings and one ministerial gathering.

This past March, the leaders held their first virtual meeting and released a joint statement.

While China was not mentioned, it did say the group strives “for a region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values and unconstrained by coercion.”

China still doesn’t like the grouping, nor that wording.

Last week a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman criticized “exclusive cliques targeting other countries” — saying “it won’t be popular and has no future.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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