FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for joining us here in Melbourne this evening, and let me start by thanking my friends and counterparts, India’s External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, Japan’s Foreign Minister Hayashi, and U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, for what has been a very substantive and productive Quad foreign ministers meeting here in Melbourne, our fourth.
Let me start also by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting this evening, the Wurundjeri people, and pay my respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.
Today the Quad foreign ministers have reaffirmed our support for the principles of openness, the protection of national sovereignty, and the observance of rules and fair play. Our region is in a period of rising strategic uncertainty. The rules and norms that have provided a foundation for our stability and hence our prosperity are under pressure, in particular from authoritarian regimes.
The Quad is a grouping with a positive and ambitious agenda. We continue to support the centrality of ASEAN, including to advance practical implementation of ASEAN’s outlook on the Indo-Pacific. The Quad has made practical commitments and we’re delivering on them. We’ve delivered over 500 million vaccine doses under the Quad leaders’ commitment and ensured they reached the people who need them. Australia will bolster the efforts of the Quad vaccine partnership by making a further investment through our regional health security initiative for the Indo-Pacific.
Australia in our actions works to support a world order that favors freedom where rules, not power and coercion, resolve disputes. Today in Melbourne, our overarching focus was on the Indo-Pacific. We agreed to strengthen Quad cyber and counterterrorism cooperation, including by coordinating efforts to address the threat of ransomware. We discussed humanitarian and disaster response and vital infrastructure delivery which is climate-adapted and climate-resilient in consultation with our partners. We agreed to boost maritime security support for Indo-Pacific partners to strengthen their maritime domain awareness and ability to develop their offshore resources, to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight, and to combat challenges such as illegal fishing.
I am delighted that Japan has offered to host the next Quad leaders summit in the first half of 2022.
Let me finish my remarks and I’ll ask my colleagues to indulge me just for a moment. Many of you will know that today was the holding of the state memorial service for the passing of a former Australian foreign minister and leader of my parliamentary Liberal Party, Andrew Peacock. I think if Andrew Peacock was here now and able to see a Quad of foreign ministers meeting being held in person in Melbourne after two years of a global pandemic and only two years after the first in-person meeting of the Quad foreign ministers, he’d be immensely proud of Australia and our Quad partners for what we have worked to deliver, for the practical cooperation that we’ve engaged in, and for our strong focus on our friends and partners in ASEAN.
It gives me great pleasure to ask Minister Jaishankar to make some remarks.
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER JAISHANKAR: Thank you, Marise. Foreign Minister Payne, let me first of all thank you for hosting what was truly a productive meeting of the Quad foreign ministers. We’ve also had an opportunity earlier in the day to meet collectively with Prime Minister Scott Morrison for what was a very insightful, very useful discussion before our own deliberations.
The interactions that we have had has made it evident that robust bilateral relations between our respective countries, strategic convergences, and our shared democratic values have all combined to make the Quad a vibrant and substantial framework.
We are building an agenda which seeks to further our shared vision of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. We are keen to work together to further peace and stability and economic prosperity in the Indo-Pacific through collective efforts which address contemporary issues. In this context we will continue to support our ASEAN partners in their efforts to uphold peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. Their centrality is important to recognize and reiterate.
We reviewed the Quad’s ongoing efforts to combat the COVID pandemic and agreed to expedite delivery of safe and affordable vaccines, support capacity building, and augment infrastructure for “last mile” delivery. The Quad’s discussions and efforts to build resilient supply chains, enhance availability of trusted critical technologies, counter disinformation, and uphold a rules-based multilateral trading system will contribute to fostering global economic resilience. I welcome the Quad’s shared desire to address common global threats such as terrorism, strengthen maritime domain awareness, provide timely HA/DR assistance, and assist countries in the Indo-Pacific in the area of cyber security.
Taking forward the Quad’s positive agenda which our leaders endorsed last year, we will take steps to strengthen our existing people-to-people linkages through education programs and think-tank dialogues. As we conclude this very timely and valuable interaction, we will work together to give shape and substance to the Quad’s positive agenda to make it, in the words of my prime minister, Narendra Modi, a force for global good.
Once again, I thank the Government of Australia and in particular my friend Marise Payne for the warmth, hospitality, and excellent arrangements for our visit and meetings.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thank you very much, Minister, and let me ask Minister Hayashi to make some remarks, please.
FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI: (Via interpreter) Thank you, Marise. Firstly, may I express my gratitude to all those who have cooperated with us to realize this meeting. One year has passed since the last foreign ministers meeting. As for myself, I have joined my three friends here in person for the first time, but because this is face-to-face in person, I do feel that we were able to exchange opinions extremely frankly on extensive areas of topics and cooperation. I have once again keenly felt the importance of the collaboration by the four countries sharing values. At the dinner tonight I wish to further deepen our trust and confidence among us in a causal atmosphere.
The international situation surrounding our (inaudible) are immensely fluid. At the moment, tension in Ukraine is rising and diplomatic efforts to resolve the situations are intensifying. On the other hand, in the Indo-Pacific region there are the nuclear and missile activities by North Korea, unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas, and the situation in Myanmar, and others. There are numerous pressing matters. This is indeed the moment where the power of diplomacy fits. But just because it is a time like this, for ourselves responsible for the diplomatic authorities of the four countries meeting in person, having reconfirmed a solid commitment to realize a common vision of free, open Indo-Pacific, and having agreed to further advance practical cooperation I think are very timely and meaningful achievements.
The Kishida administration continues to attach great importance to the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific and intends to further strengthen and accelerate specific initiatives to this end. In today’s discussions we confirmed that we will continue to steadily push forward the work in areas of cooperation that we have already agreed on at the leaders level, beginning with the vaccine partnership, in addition that we were able to agree to deepen further the range of practical cooperation built up over the past three foreign ministers meetings, including on maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, counterterrorism, and people-to-people exchanges. I believe that we have been able to further the momentum toward the Quad summit scheduled in Japan in the first half of this year.
I look forward to continuing to work closely with the foreign ministers to ensure that we make this trend a firm one and that the Quad develop a wide range of cooperation that will benefit the region. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thank you very much, Minister Hayashi. Secretary of State.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Marise, thank you so much. Thank you for the incredible hospitality. Thank you for bringing us here to Australia and for bringing us here to this wonderful city of Melbourne. It’s been truly a delight to be able to spend a little bit of time in the city as well as in our meetings.
And to you, Marise; Jai, to you and to Yogi; friends, colleagues: I am so grateful for the extremely productive discussions that we’ve had today. In fact, we were speaking a few moments ago and the incredible range of things that we covered, we could have spent the entire time on any one of them. But I think it goes to the richness of what we have before us as democracies united in advancing a very affirmative vision for the future.
Back in December, I was in Jakarta and I set out the United States’ vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, which – more than any other region – will shape the trajectory of the 21st century.
We talk about a free and open Indo-Pacific a lot. It’s worth spending just a second on what that actually means to us, and it’s a shared meaning.
It means people will be free in their daily lives and live in open societies.
It means that countries will be able to choose their own path and their own partners.
It means that goods, ideas, individuals will flow freely in the region and that problems will be dealt with openly, according to the rules of the road that everyone has agreed to.
We believe the only way to make that vision a reality is to deepen our engagement with allies and partners who share it, and that’s exactly what the Quad is all about. As Indo-Pacific countries, as democracies, as nations who understand how important it is to uphold the international rules that have provided the foundation for decades of shared security and prosperity, it’s in our interest to do more together.
Returning to the region now – even as we continue to work relentlessly to try to resolve the crisis in Ukraine brought about by Russian aggression and to do that through diplomacy and deterrence – but being here now, even in the midst of that, I think only underscores our commitment to staying focused on the Indo-Pacific.
And indeed, these efforts are part of one whole. One of the reasons we’re working so intensively to defend the core principles threatened by Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine is because those very same principles are crucial to enduring stability in this region and every other part of the world.
This visit also underscores our commitment to not only meeting the pledges that the Quad has made, but also finding new ways to leverage our unique and combined strengths. And let me just quickly highlight a few that we discussed doing that.
We will keep working to produce a billion doses of safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this year and to donate 1.2 billion additional doses, while increasing our efforts to support the logistics, the infrastructure that’s needed to get those shots into arms around the world, the last mile. Each of the Quad countries will play a key role in a meeting that we’re convening on Monday on a COVID-19 Global Action Plan which will drive greater leadership and coordination across regions of sectors to end the pandemic.
We’ll enhance our collaboration on disaster response and humanitarian assistance, as you’ve heard. We’re doing that right now in the case of the Tonga volcano eruption.
We’ll strengthen our cooperation on maritime security, both to combat challenges like illegal unregulated, unreported fishing, and to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight across the region, including in the South and East China Seas.
We’ve agreed to deepen our efforts to shape the rules and standards around emerging technologies, cyber security, which will increasingly touch on all aspects of the lives of our fellow citizens.
We’ll expand our cooperation with other partners like ASEAN, whose centrality to the region is enduring; APEC, which the United States will host next year; and in the Pacific islands.
The Quad has been and always will be an affirmative partnership rooted not in the opposition to any country or group of countries, but rather in the belief that together we can do more to deliver broad-based progress for people in other countries, in our countries, across the Indo-Pacific, addressing the challenges that real people face in their lives, helping them seize the opportunities that they want, empowering them to chart their own course.
Our efforts today show that the stronger the Quad gets, the more we’ll be able to deliver on that promise. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thank you very much, Tony, and Jai, and Yogi for those remarks. I have four questions to take from the assembled members of the media, and the first name I have on the list is Pablo Vinales from SBS. I can’t see you, though. Oh, there you are. I’m sorry, you – the lights were —
QUESTION: Thank you, Minister. Pablo Vinales, SBS World News. Minister Payne, on the crisis in Ukraine, are you able to elaborate what came of discussions today? And two, Mr. Secretary, you’ve been quoted as saying you expect Australia to contribute imposing massive costs on Moscow should Russia invade. What would that look like? Do you foresee Magnitsky-style sanctions as part of that?
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thanks, Pablo. And consistent with the statements the Australian Government and I have made previously I’d reiterated our very deep concerns about the Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border and again reiterated on calls that we have made to Russia to participate constructively in diplomatic efforts, many of which has been strongly led by Secretary Blinken and the President of the United States. I’ve also reiterated Australia’s strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that we will continue to support our allies and partners to deter this sort of aggression, and to raise the costs of this kind of behavior.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you, Marise. Two things. We have been pursuing a dual-track approach to the challenge posed by Russia and the forces that it’s massed, unprovoked, along Ukraine’s borders. Diplomacy and dialogue – we would strongly prefer to resolve the differences that we have through diplomacy, through dialogue. That is the responsible way to do things. We’ve made every possible effort to engage Russia, to look at the concerns that it’s raised, to share concerns that we have, that European partners and allies have, to see if we can’t find ways to advance collective security on a reciprocal basis.
But at the same time, while we’ve been very clear in building deterrence and building defense and making it clear to Russia that if it chooses the path of renewed aggression, it will face massive consequences. A number of countries have made this clear as well. All of the G7 countries came together, the world’s leading democratic economies, to make clear that massive consequences would follow from renewed aggression. So did the European Union. So did NATO. And working with allies and partners not only in Europe but around the world, including Australia, we have been putting together exactly what those consequences would entail, including economic, financial sanctions, export controls. We’re as well committed to continuing to build up the defensive capacity of Ukraine as well as reinforcing the defenses of NATO if Russia renews its aggression.
But let me just take one second to share what may seem to be half a world away from here matters here in Australia, in the Indo-Pacific. And as I mentioned a few minutes ago, what’s at stake is not simply, as important as it is, Ukraine’s territorial integrity, its sovereignty, its independence, but very basic principles that have in a hard-fought way after two World Wars and a Cold War undergirded security, peace, and prosperity for countries around the world – principles like one country can’t simply change the borders of another by force; principles like one country can’t simply dictate to another its choices, its policies, with whom it will associate; principles like one country can’t exert a sphere of influence to subjugate its neighbors to its will.
If we allow those principles to be challenged with impunity, even if it’s half a world away in Europe, that will have an impact here as well. Others are watching. Others are looking to all of us to see how we respond. So that’s why it’s so important that we have this solidarity, that we do everything possible through diplomacy to try to avert a conflict and prevent aggression, but equally to be resolute if Russia renews its aggression.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thanks, Tony. The next question is from Stephen Dziedzic, from the ABC.
QUESTION: Thank you, Minister. Can I ask, on Myanmar, what discussions were had by you today on the crisis in Myanmar? And can I ask you please, Secretary, you have – the United States has obviously imposed fresh sanctions on Myanmar. That is not something that’s been done by your other Quad partners. Does the United States believe that other countries in the region, including your Quad partners, should at least contemplate the step of concerted sanctions on Myanmar to increase pressure on the junta? Thank you.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: I’m happy to start.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Sure.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: We did discuss Myanmar today, and look, I think it is painfully obvious that the developments there are deeply, deeply troubling, and deeply troubling to all of us. We’ve seen the junta double down on repression, on violence. We just had the one-year anniversary of the coup and the junta taking over. I met with some democracy activists just a week ago by video in Washington and heard again firsthand what is – what’s happening inside of Myanmar.
We very much support the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus. We need to see it implemented. This is something President Biden’s going to focus on in the near future when he hosts the ASEAN leaders in Washington. From my perspective, the perspective of the United States, implementing the Five-Point Consensus, making sure humanitarian assistance can get in, making sure that arms stay out, and engaging the democratic forces in Burma are the things that we need to pursue together. I don’t purport to speak for my colleagues, but I can tell you we had a robust discussion and the concern is widely shared.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thanks, Tony. And I think you’ve covered off well on the outline of our discussion. I would add that I have also once again acknowledged the continuing detention of Professor Sean Turnell in Myanmar, that Australia – of which we have also just unfortunately marked the first anniversary on the 6th of February, that Australia considers this to be a case of arbitrary detention. And I have acknowledged and thanked counterparts, all of our counterparts here, for their role in continuing to advocate with the regime for the release of Professor Turnell, as Australia does constantly, consistently with – not just in Myanmar itself, but globally.
Yes, of course, Jai.
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER JAISHANKAR: Well, I think we are all agreed on the importance of the democratic transition which was underway in Myanmar. And clearly, the fact that the country has moved in a different direction is something which troubles all of us. We all, I think, also very strongly back the ASEAN position on Myanmar and their efforts to engage.
But we’re – we are concerned, India is concerned as an immediate land-border neighbor. We have some very specific concerns on Myanmar which also guides our thinking, concerns about insurgents operating there who some months ago killed a very senior military officer and his family; concerns about the COVID and the lack of vaccination on our common border; concerns about a humanitarian situation which is arising from food shortages.
So I think those are also concerns which we take into account, and where we are concerned we don’t follow a policy of national sanctions.
FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. Already as was mentioned, I might be duplicating, but regarding the Myanmar situation we do have serious concerns. And a cessation of violence and the release of detained persons have been (inaudible), and the need of reinstated democracy have been confirmed. The humanitarian access must be given fully, as Tony mentioned. ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus must be implemented quickly. We have agreed on the implementation. On top of that, ASEAN’s engagement must be supported and continue (inaudible) and the international community must work together in order to deal with the Myanmar situations. Those are what we have agreed.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thank you very much, Yogi. The next question is from Daiki Maeda from Kyodo News. Thank you.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you. Maeda, Kyodo News. Question about the discussion on China. In the Indo-Pacific region, including South and China Seas, and about China’s military and economic activities, what did you discuss? Regarding the importance of peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, have the four ministers managed to share their views? Minister Hayashi, what did you discuss?
FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI: (Via interpreter) Thank you for the question. At the meeting today, because we were able to frankly discuss because we are friends with a shared vision of free and open Indo-Pacific, well, we were very straightforward in our discussions. And we discussed the regional situations regarding the East and the China – South China Seas. I expressed serious concerns on the unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force of coercion, and the four foreign ministers agreed to work together to counter the challenges against the maritime order based on rules backed by international laws, such as UNCLOS.
There was also a discussion on Taiwan with each country referring to its basic position, and Japan stating that the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is important. In order to ensure the peace and prosperity of the entire region and to contribute to the international community as a whole, Japan will continue to take the lead in building an order based on the rule of law to realize FOIP.
The Quad summit scheduled to be held in Japan in the first half of this year is designed to further ensure these initiatives. The respective countries agreed to secure our commitment towards the success of the endeavor to an even greater degree. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thank you, Yogi. And the final question this evening is from Jennifer Hansler at CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, today the State Department issued a new security alert for Ukraine, calling on American citizens to leave now. What changed that made you issue this new security alert? If it’s so dangerous, why don’t we see more Europeans also issuing the same kind of alert? And are you planning to put the U.S. embassy in Kyiv on ordered departure, and if so, when?
And for all of the foreign ministers: Russia and China recently released a lengthy pact pledging no limits to their cooperation. How concerned are you about this pact? Is there consensus on this concern from the Quad? And did you discuss specific plans to counter this partnership? Thank you.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Simply put, we continue to see very troubling signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border. And as we’ve said before, we’re in a window when an invasion could begin at any time. And to be clear, that includes during the Olympics. We’re continuing to draw down our embassy. We will continue that process. And we’ve also been very clear that any American citizens who remain in Ukraine should leave now.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thanks, Tony. And perhaps if I start: What we have been doing in the Quad context since our first in-person foreign ministers meeting in September of 2019 through the leaders summits of 2021 both virtual and in person, and again with this meeting, is working together as partners in pursuit of a regional and global order that is based on the rule of law. The Quad is not about what we’re against; it’s about what we’re able to do. It’s about constructive partnerships and what we are for, and we are for freedom and openness and transparency, freedom from coercion, and the opportunity for states to preserve and protect their sovereignty and their territorial integrity.
Where we see the sort of statement that was issued by the presidents after their bilateral meeting, it is concerning because it doesn’t present or represent a global order that squares with those ambitions for freedom and openness and sovereignty, and the protection of territorial integrity.
And so we’ll continue to ensure that our contributions are about stabilizing the rules-based order, are about contributing to security and stability and prosperity, and that is one of the great values of the discussions that we have had today on every single subject that we have canvassed.
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER JAISHANKAR: Well, I would just add that as my colleagues have observed, we are for something, not against somebody. And a lot of our discussions took off from where the leaders summit left off. They identified a number of areas where if the four of us cooperate, cooperate practically and efficiently, I think the world would be a much better place.
FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI: (Via interpreter) Regarding the regional situations, indeed Ukraine was also discussed. The position of Japan is the sovereignty and territorial integrity have consistently been supported by Japan. We will continue to collaborate with international community. We will take appropriate responses. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Thank you very much, Yogi. Can I thank you, ladies and gentlemen? I know this has been a media conference late in the day, but I do very much appreciate your attendance and your contribution here this afternoon, this evening. And may I once again thank my colleagues for such a productive and collaborative meeting? Thank you.