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In latest move against China and Russia, Canada proposes alliance with Japan, South Korea, US 

New Delhi: As part of efforts to counter China and Russia, Canada has proposed creating a quadripartite cooperation framework with Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Canada conveyed the idea directly to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida when he visited Ottawa in January, the Japan Times quoted sources as saying, adding that it believes expanding the existing trilateral mechanism involving the United States and its major Asian allies involved will help strengthen ties among the countries of the liberal-democratic camp in the Pacific Rim region.

U.S. diplomats said Washington supports Ottawa’s plan to deepen cooperation with Tokyo and Seoul, whose bilateral ties have improved rapidly in recent weeks, it said.

In early March, South Korea unveiled a plan to end a long-standing dispute with Japan over wartime labor issues, raising hopes for better relations between the two US allies and broader trilateral cooperation, particularly on defense as North Korea also remains a security challenge.

The proposed move follows the Quad partnership of Indo-Pacific democracies formed by Australia, India, Japan and the United States to accommodate China’s growing influence in the region.

Like the Quad countries, Canada wants to promote universal values ​​such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and address climate change and other global issues by working closely with Japan, South Korea and the United States, the Japan Times quoted sources as saying.

Canada, Japan and the United States are members of the Group of Seven. Kishida will host this year’s Group of Major Democratic Economies summit in Hiroshima in May, with the Japanese government of South Korea inviting Yoon as a guest for the discussions.

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However, Japan has told the Canadian government that sources say it would take time for the concept to materialize, if at all.

Relations between Canada and China have been chilly since Huawei Technologies’ CFO was jailed in Vancouver in late 2018 on a US warrant for bank fraud and Beijing’s subsequent arrest of two Canadians on espionage charges.

Canada announced a new Indo-Pacific strategy last November, in which it characterized China as an “increasingly disruptive global power”.

China’s expansionist moves in the Indo-Pacific region have fueled the closer embrace between India and Australia in no small measure. Relations between various anti-China blocs have continued to gain momentum to counter growing Chi9na concerns in the region.

The momentum of the rapprochement became clearer after Japan and South Korea agreed to resume regular visits between their leaders and take steps to settle a trade dispute during a long-awaited summit earlier this month.

Japan’s prime minister called their meeting a “major step” in rebuilding security and economic ties between the two nations as they seek to move beyond a century of difficult history.

The summit could revise the strategic map of Northeast Asia. The two US allies, long at odds in their history, are trying to form a united front, fueled by shared concerns about an unruly North Korea and a more powerful China.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol both stressed the importance of improved relations as they opened the summit hours after a North Korean missile launch and encounters between Japanese and Chinese ships in disputed waters.

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With contributions from agencies.

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Date updated: March 20, 2023 13:24:56 IST

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