The strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific region promoted by the United States, India, Japan and Australia — the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue — is designed to deter Russia and China, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.
The minister pointed to the imposition of bloc thinking on the Asia-Pacific region, noting that the region should be free from geopolitical games, especially given its importance as the locomotive of the world economy.
“Look at the so-called Indo-Pacific Strategy promoted by Washington, Australia and Japan, and already supported by NATO … which is designed blatantly to belittle the constructive unifying role of ASEAN in the region in order to reformat it to contain China and isolate Russia,” Lavrov said at Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS).
According to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy aims at creating a rule-based order in the region, as well as promoting freedom of navigation and free trade, in light of China’s increased influence.
The annually-held MCIS gathers defense officials to discuss urgent issues and tendencies on the international military agenda. This year’s edition involves representatives of defense departments, international organizations, and non-government experts from nearly 50 countries. The forum runs from June 22-24.
Earlier, there were reports that the United States is trying to get South Korea into the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which also includes Australia, Japan and India, a claim denied by the press service of the South Korean Presidency.
Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had urged Seoul to join Quad during a trilateral meeting with his counterparts from Japan and South Korea in early April. The South Korean government reportedly refrained from giving any response.
The presidential press service described it as “regrettable” that an article like that had appeared in media. The South Korean Foreign Ministry, in turn, said that it did not receive any official requests from Washington to join the group, as cited in the report.
In late March, US State Secretary Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin paid a visit to South Korea. South Korean media interpreted the high-level visit as a sign of the formation of an anti-Chinese coalition, noting that Washington was seeking to expand Quad’s role.
South Korea has so far not explicitly stated any official position on whether or not it intended to join Quad.