The Australian foreign ministry said the four countries shared a vision for increased prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region and will work together to ensure that it "remains free and open".
Even as India, the USA and Japan have a trilateral dialogue mechanism in place for issues relating to the Indo-Pacific region, Japanese Foreign Minister Tara Kono said in October that Tokyo was for a top-level quadrilateral dialogue that would also include Australia. US President Donald Trump has been increasingly using the term "Indo-Pacific" for Asia-Pacific to clearly signal the inclusion of India in the Indian Ocean. "The relevant proposal should be open and inclusive and should be conducive to the win-win cooperation and avoid politicising or excluding some relevant parties", Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said. The meeting was held a day before the ASEAN Summit. "The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity", it said in a statement.
He added, "From China's persistent foreign policy, we welcome the development of friendly cooperation between the relevant countries and we hope this kind of relations is not directed against any third party and we hope this kind of relations will be conducive to the regional peace and stability".
The move is seen as counter to China's aggressive behaviour in the area.
The US and Japan have been pushing for a deeper Indian role in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region.
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A senior White House official had said that "we have strong and growing ties with India".
Unlike the press-releases issued in Washington, Canberra and Tokyo; the one put out by the MEA in New Delhi carefully avoided certain phrases, which are often used in worldwide diplomacy to needle China.
Trump and his officials used the term repeatedly through his five-nation tour that concludes in Manila. "But we hope that plans and positions can accord with and conform to this trend, can suit the general trend of events in the world, and that the relevant plans and positions are open and inclusive, benefiting the promotion of win-win cooperation by all sides, and avoid politicised or exclusionary arrangements".
In its statement, the Japanese foreign ministry said officials discussed measures to ensure a free and open worldwide order based on the rule of law in the Indo- Pacific.
"Promoting the stability and the development of the Asia Pacific region is the common responsibility of the regional countries".