Quadrilateral Defense Leaders Meeting in Hawaii Highlights Indo-Pacific Cooperation
Fri | May 03, 2024

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May 2, 2024 (Hawaii) – Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles, Japanese Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III convened in Hawaii for a Quadrilateral Defense Ministers’ meeting at the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) Headquarters in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This meeting, the second-ever of its kind, underscores the deep collaboration among these four nations in advancing a shared vision for a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Expressing grave concern over the situation in the East and South China Seas, the Defense Ministers strongly objected to the dangerous deployment of coast guard and maritime militia vessels in the South China Sea. They reiterated serious concerns regarding the People's Republic of China's (PRC) repeated obstruction of Philippine vessels' exercise of high seas freedom of navigation and the disruption of supply lines to Second Thomas Shoal, which pose dangerous and destabilizing behavior.

Emphasizing the importance of upholding freedoms of navigation and overflight, and respecting international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), they called upon the PRC to adhere to the final and legally binding 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal Award and pledged to support states exercising their rights and freedoms in the South China Sea.

The leaders discussed enhancing defense cooperation, including maritime activities and capacity building. Through collaborative efforts, the four nations reaffirm their commitment to upholding the rules-based order and ensuring stability in the region.