Foreign Minister Marise Payne met virtually with her counterparts from the United States, India and Japan in the early hours of Friday morning for talks which were dominated by China.
It was the first non-bilateral such meeting for new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, showing the significance of the alliance of the countries, referred to as "the Quad".
Senator Payne labelled the Quad "a key pillar of Australia's international agenda" in a statement after the meeting.
While most of the statements released by the ministers didn't mention China directly, it's clear that it was the major topic of discussion, along with Myanmar.
"We reaffirmed our commitment to supporting an open, inclusive and resilient region where the rights of all countries are respected and disputes are resolved peacefully, free from coercion, and in accordance with international law," Senator Payne said.
"We discussed the increasingly complex strategic challenges facing the region, and the growing pressures on rules, norms and institutions."
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The readout from Secretary Blinken said the four ministers, including Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, committed to meeting at least once a year, as well as other work at senior levels "to strengthen cooperation on advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including support for freedom of navigation and territorial integrity".
Japanese Minister Motegi's statement was more forceful on China saying "the four Ministers concurred to strongly oppose unilateral and forceful attempts to change the status quo in the context of the East and South China Sea".
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