NEW DELHI: In the wake of the aggressive unilateralism displayed by China over its island-building policy in the South China Sea, which has invited considerable attention and triggered unease across world capitals, Beijing’s recent moves figured in the talks at a trilateral meeting of Asian and Australasian democracies, where all of them found that they were almost “on the same page” regarding the Communist nation.
On Monday the Foreign Secretary-level diplomats from India, Japan and Australia met here for the first-ever trilateral meeting, where S Jaishankar played host to Australia’s Peter Varghese and Japan’s Akitaka Saiki.
But, unlike such diplomatic events, the meeting was kept extremely low-profile. No announcement or photograph of the trilateral dialogue was released by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The only hint of the meeting came when the MEA spokesperson tweeted a photo of Japanese Foreign Secretary Saiki calling on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday morning. No Joint Statement was released after the meeting.
“We had a full day’s discussion on China… More or less, we confirmed with each other we are on the same page,” Saiki said at a speech at a city-based think tank.
He said all three officials “compared notes on what each of us think about what is going on in the region”.
Japan is also part of another trilateral dialogue with India along with the US.
Incidentally, Japan may also be joining the Malabar Naval Exercise that India conducts with the US.
China aggressive under Xi: japan
Japanese Foreign Secretary Saiki dwelled at length on a “rising China”, asserting that the leadership of President Xi Jinping was the catalyst for an aggressive policy on territorial claims. “Ever since Xi Jinping took over, China is showing a different kind of face. Under Hu Jintao (Xi’s predecessor), China behaved in more restrained manner,” said Saiki.