The defense ministers of the United States, Japan, and Australia met to establish new rules and commitments to jointly face the new world scenario after the pandemic caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus and express their strong concern about the conflicts in the East and South China seas, the situation in Hong Kong, and the ballistic missile launches by North Korea.

A Joint Statement from the United States, Japan, and Australia was issued after the virtual defense ministerial meeting that was held on Wednesday, July 7. The meeting was attended by Defense Minister Linda Reynolds of Australia, Defense Minister Kono Taro of Japan, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. 

The meeting was convened in order to jointly face the new world scenario generated by the CCP Virus pandemic and to mitigate its impacts in the entire Indo-Pacific region. It highlighted the need to establish new rules for the three nations to address the situation “in a way that is transparent, accountable, and resilient,” says the statement.

In addition, the ministers expressed their “strong opposition to any destabilizing or coercive unilateral actions that could alter the status quo ” and increase tensions in the South and East China Seas. They also expressed serious concern about recent incidents in that region, including the maritime militia and efforts to disrupt the exploitation of other countries’ resources.  The importance of peaceful resolution of the conflict was stressed, and all countries in the region were asked “take meaningful steps to ease tension and build trust.”

The three defense chiefs also referred to the situation in Hong Kong following the recent imposition of the National Security Law by the CCP, expressing their “deep concern” at this development, which undermines democracy and the freedom of the people of Hong Kong.” 

The ministers also expressed in the statement their strong concern about the repeated ballistic missile launches by North Korea, saying that they violated multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and called on the country to “cease actions that increase tensions and undermine regional stability, to comply with its international obligations, and to take clear steps to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles programs of all ranges in accordance with UNSCRs.”

Through this meeting, which was the ninth held between the three countries, the nations “reaffirmed their joint commitment to enhance security, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region in keeping with their shared values and long-standing alliances and close partnerships.”