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US Secretary of State to visit Australia

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US Secretary of State to visit Australia

US Secretary of State to visit Australia Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

The foreign ministers of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) of Australia, India, Japan and the United States will meet today.

The meeting’s focus will be on building strategic ties with other Indo-Pacific blocs to counter Chinese influence in the region. Ties with the ten-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which comprises most of the countries in the region, are a special focus.

The Quad’s members will likely attempt to convince ASEAN to join the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI), a trilateral agreement between India, Japan and Australia, which seeks to increase supply chain resilience and reduce dependence on China.

Past failed attempts by ASEAN to diversify its members’ supply chains, plus the multipolar and Asia-driven nature of the SCRI will likely encourage ASEAN to join. The SCRI’s lack of a guiding framework adds to its appeal, allowing it to be all things to all people, but will present a significant structural challenge in the medium- to long-term.

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The differing economic interests of its member countries could cause a crisis—possibly a confrontation between Indian protectionism of its developing industrial economy and Japanese reliance on supply chains—for the SCRI if there is not an understanding of a common direction.

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