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Quad talks to centre on Russian aggression

Russian aggression against Ukraine and its “no limits” pact with China will be front and centre during security talks between Australian, US, Indian and Japanese foreign ministers in Melbourne.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken believes Russia poses an immediate risk not just in Europe but to fundamental security principles throughout the world.

“You can’t just change the borders of another country by force. You can’t decide for another country its choices, its policies, with whom it will associate,” he told the ABC ahead of Friday’s meeting of the so-called Quad countries.

“You can’t exert a sphere of influence that tries to subjugate your neighbours to your will.”

Russia and China agreed on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics to a “no limits” pact to back each other amid pushback from the West.

But Mr Blinken noted Russian aggression in Ukraine would not be good for China either and “one would think that it would have shared some of its concerns”.

“This is not about standing against anyone in particular; it is about standing up for a rules-based order,” he said.

His trip to Australia represents the first cabinet-level official US visit under Joe Biden’s presidency. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will meet with the foreign ministers.

The fourth Quad ministers meeting will canvas the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, cyber and emerging technologies, attempts to combat disinformation, terrorism, maritime security and climate change.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne described it as a “vital network” of democracies committed to a free Indo-Pacific region.

“We will continue to work to deepen this practical cooperation including to support our region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

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