Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison agreed to expand the Quad cooperation in the areas of defence and security amid rising threat from China. Abe held a video conference with Morrison on July 9 and exchanged their views on the current state of East China Sea, the South China Sea, and the Pacific Island region for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also known as Quad, is an informal strategic forum between India, US, Japan, and Australia. Abe said that the leaders agreed to expand cooperation, including in the areas of defence and security between Japan and Australia as well as under Japan-Australia-U.S-India frameworks.

Recently, Morrison had raised concern over the tensions related to rising territorial claims across the Indo-Pacific region, citing the ongoing tension between India and China. Announcing Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update, Morrison had highlighted the importance of preparing for a post-COVID world that is “poorer”, more “dangerous and disorderly”.

Morrison said that Australia must face the reality that the country moved into a “new and less benign strategic area” and the cooperation that have benefited prosperity and security for decades are now under increasing and almost irreversible strain. He added that the Indo-Pacific has become the epicentre of rising strategic competition and Australian will “shape the future”.