MADRID: Leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand on Wednesday agreed to enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region amid China’s increasingly hegemonic behavior.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met in Madrid to hold the first summit among the four countries.
The four leaders are invited to a two-day NATO summit in the Spanish capital that opened Wednesday as Asia-Pacific partners. The four-way meeting, which lasted for one hour, was held at the initiative of Kishida.
The four were united in condemning Russia, which is continuing military aggression against Ukraine, according to Japanese government officials.
Based on a view that the security of the Indo-Pacific area and Europe is inseparable, the four leaders agreed to work even more closely together and deepen their cooperation with NATO.
Also agreed on was close cooperation among the four countries.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “an outrageous act that undermines the foundation of international order,” Kishida told the three other leaders.
“Unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force are unacceptable anywhere in the world,” Kishida also said, apparently bearing China in mind.
In the Indo-Pacific region, the Quad framework of Japan, the United States, Australia and India serves as a team to counter China. The group of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand add to the Quad framework.