(Add quote from Motegi, background)
TOKYO, February 18 (Reuters) – Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Thursday said he had agreed with his American, Indian and Australian counterparts that democracy must be restored quickly in Myanmar.
Myanmar’s military arrested civilian leaders, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and announced a one-year state of emergency, alleging that the November elections were marked by fraud. The electoral commission rejected the army’s complaints.
Motegi made his comment after a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne – country under the so-called “Quad”.
In October, Japan hosted a face-to-face meeting of Quad Group foreign ministers, seen as part of efforts to balance China’s growing military and economic power.
Thursday’s virtual meeting was the first since the start of President Joe Biden’s new US administration.
<< I underlined (during the meeting) that, as challenges to the existing international order continue in various fields, the role that we, the countries which share fundamental values and which are deeply committed to the consolidating a free and open international order based on the rule of law, let's play only gets bigger, ”Motegi said.
“And the other ministers agreed.”
The four ministers also agreed to strongly oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, Motegi said.
China claims almost all of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea and has established military outposts on man-made islands. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the sea.
In the East China Sea, China claims a group of uninhabited islets administered by Japan, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. This dispute has affected bilateral relations for years.