Ahead of the second ministerial meeting of the four countries under the Quad - India, Japan, Australia and US - in Tokyo next week, the Trump administration has said the purpose of the group is to establish, promote and secure Indo-Pacific region, especially at a time of increased Chinese "aggression and coercion" in the region.
"The Quad seeks to establish, promote, and secure Indo-Pacific principles, especially as PRC tactics, aggression, and coercion increase in the region," Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David R. Stilwell told reporters during a conference call on Friday. US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is travelling to Tokyo next week to participate in the second Quad ministerial meet that includes External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar from India.
The first ministerial was held in New York last year. State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the visit reflects the strong partnership between the United States and its partners and allies in the region and demonstrates its commitment to continuing the good work that is being done on the full range of bilateral, regional, and global issues that affect prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Quad is an informal grouping of likeminded partners formed to deepen cooperation on sub-regional issues and shape a more closely-aligned Indo-Pacific region, Stilwell said, adding the core of the Quad partnership rests on a commitment to continued dialogue and work toward mutually agreed-upon outcomes.
"Quad membership is driven by shared interests, not binding obligations," he said. Stilwell said the Quad was not formed to exclude nations. He said It was a group formed in 2004 as part of the effort to coordinate the respective humanitarian assistance and disaster relief responses to the Indian Ocean tsunami.
"Quad collaboration has grown beyond humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and now focuses on furthering our shared vision of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. This last year has seen some of the Quad's most remarkable growth, to include a focus on ASEAN centrality in our respective approaches to the region," he said.
Responding to a question, Stilwell said there is unlikely to be a joint statement after the Quad ministerial meeting. He further said, "The bringing together of four distinct perspectives on issues has been very helpful. This is the wonderful thing about the Quad is we have shared values but different perspectives, and from those come great ideas and elegant solutions."