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Australian Foreign Minister: Russia-China Partnership 'at Odds' With Global ‘Vision' of Quad Nations

© ALEXEI DRUZHININRussian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a photograph during their meeting in Beijing, on February 4, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a photograph during their meeting in Beijing, on February 4, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.02.2022
The fourth edition of the foreign ministers’ dialogue of the Quad, comprising Australia, Japan, India, and the US, will take place in Melbourne on 11 February. “Regional strategic issues” as well as COVID vaccine cooperation and supply chains will be on the agenda of the talks.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has said that the upcoming foreign ministerial meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the "Quad", sends a “very strong message” to China about the US and its partners’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.
In an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Wednesday, Payne further argued that the tense security situation at the Russia-Ukraine border didn’t dwarf the importance the US attaches to the Indo-Pacific region.
Payne also disapproved of the joint statement released after the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on 4 February. The summit took place on the sidelines of the ongoing Beijing Winter Olympics.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose during their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.02.2022
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Moscow and Beijing have criticised the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy and opposed the “formation of closed bloc structures and opposing camps in the Asia-Pacific region”.
The joint statement after the Putin-Xi meeting also declared that “friendship between the two states has no limits and there are no forbidden areas of cooperation”.

"The joint statement sets out a vision of the global order that is at odds with that of Australia and that of our allies and partners, and I'm confident that includes all of our Quad partners", Payne said.

The Australian foreign minister accused China and Russia of following an “approach” which wasn’t “contributing to security”.
She said that Canberra was “deeply concerned” about the “Russian military build-up” at the Ukraine border and urged for de-escalation of the situation through “reciprocal dialogue”.

“They are not contributing to stability. And this comes at a time of great difficulty for many nations in the Indo-Pacific in trying to emerge from COVID-19, in trying to recover their economies and their health security. And in that context, they are actions which we totally reject”, said Payne.

Moscow, on its part, has accused the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) of whipping up military tensions by not heeding Moscow’s demand of rolling back offensive weapons deployed at the Russia-Ukraine border.
Russia has demanded security guarantees from NATO that it uphold its previous treaty commitments of not expanding beyond its current frontiers and asked that Ukraine shouldn’t be allowed to join the 30-nation military bloc.
President Putin warned after a recent meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that the European nations could be “drawn into a military conflict” if Kiev joins NATO.
Ukraine's National Guard soldiers undergo NATO combat training - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.02.2022
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Among the four Quad nations, only India has so far remained neutral on the Ukraine-Russia crisis, in view of the extensive defence and strategic cooperation between New Delhi and Moscow.
On 30 January, India was among a few nations which abstained from a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) vote calling for a discussion on the crisis in Eastern Europe, a gesture appreciated by Moscow.
New Delhi has argued that quiet and “constructive diplomacy is the need of the hour”.
As far as China is concerned, the Quad nations have often been critical of Beijing’s maritime claims in the East and South China seas.
Beijing has been vociferously critical of the Quad, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi accusing Washington of forming an “Asian NATO”.
Similarly, the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused Washington of “inciting an arms race” in the region after the announcement of the tri-nation AUKUS pact in September last year.
As part of the pact, the UK and US agreed to supply Australia with technology to build advanced nuclear attack submarines (SSNs).
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