Top diplomats of Japan, U.S., Australia, India eye talks in Sept.

The foreign ministers of Japan, the United States, Australia and India are arranging to hold a meeting in New York next month, diplomatic sources said Wednesday, amid China’s expanding military and economic clout in the Indo-Pacific region.

The ministers from the four-way grouping, known as the Quad, would gather on the fringes of the U.N. General Assembly’s annual general debate session starting from Sept. 19 to reaffirm their cooperation on security and other areas, according to the sources.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar are expected to attend their first meeting since meeting in March in New Delhi.

The participants are expected to release an outcome document after talking about issues including economic security and climate change, the sources said.

The four Indo-Pacific democracies have been ramping up their collaboration in various areas in recent years, expressing opposition to “any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo” in the face of Beijing’s assertive behavior in the region.

Russia’s war against Ukraine will be among other topics discussed, with the ministers set to demand a peaceful resolution in accordance with a U.N. Charter banning the use of force against territorial integrity, according to the sources.

India, a member of the BRICS forum also comprised of Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa, has maintained a friendly relationship with Moscow even after the launch of its invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Hayashi will likely call for support from his counterparts for Japan’s release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear complex into the sea, the sources said.

The water discharge from the Fukushima plant, crippled by a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in 2011, had been met with strong opposition from China even before it commenced last Thursday. Soon after the discharge began, Beijing imposed a comprehensive import ban on Japanese seafood.

The International Atomic Energy Agency concluded in a report last month that the water release plan aligns with global safety standards and would have a “negligible” radiological impact on people and the environment.

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga