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Consul General Joins Discussion on SoCal Impacts of Quad Countries’ Partnerships

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简介Consul General Kenko Sone (second from left) participates in a dialogue on Sept. 4 on the partnershi...

Consul General Kenko Sone (second from left) participates in a dialogue on Sept. 4 on the partnerships of he four Indo-Pacific democracies (U.S., Australia, India and Japan) known as the Quad. He is joined by (from left) moderator Gunjan Bagla, Srikar Reddy, Camille Dawson and Jane Duke.

By ARUN KIRI

Following the 2004 earthquake in Indonesia and the related tsunami, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed the idea of four Indo-Pacific democracies coming together for mutual interests and asked the U.S., Australia and India to join in creating the Quadrilateral Security Dialog.

On Sept. 6, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Kenko Sone was joined on stage with Jane Duke of Australia, Srikar Reddy of India and Camille Dawson representing the U.S. The event was moderated by Gunjan Bagla of Amritt, an international consulting firm.

Sone kicked off the discussion at the Sheraton Hotel in Cerritos by saying, “Summit meetings followed over the years, with much collaboration among the four countries over the years. Not just at the vision level but working at ground level.”

He said at the 2023 summit hosted by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the pillars emphasized were economic partnership, rule of law, institutions, and transparency. Further, the leaders shared an interest in strategic convergence, health capability, and building resilient infrastructure.

A Lattice of Partnerships

Secretary Dawson highlighted how no one country could do this alone and that four countries would benefit from a regional approach. She said that the U.S. wants to build a “lattice of partnerships” through established multilateral organizations, but also via mini-laterals such as the Quad.

The event flyer had promised to bring out the relevance of the Quad to the residents of Southern California. With Japan being the largest foreign investor in the region, Sone cited recent examples of collaboration between the ports of Nagoya and Los Angeles, developing the hydrogen supply chain for a green economy, and Japan’s role in the semiconductor supply chain to support the two giant chip fabs coming up in Phoenix.

Dawson pointed to large diasporas of the Quad countries in the region, the presence of foreign students from India and other countries, and the massive trade between the region and Quad countries.

Bagla kept up the interactive energy by asking audience member David Abel of the VerdeXchange and Dr. Rafiq Dossani of RAND Corporation to provide their input. Bagla also pointed out a few of the local luminaries in the audience, including Marisela Caraballo DiRuggiero of the Port of Los Angeles, Christine Peterson from L.A. Mayor Karen Bass’ office, and several leaders of the American Jewish Committee.

World Affairs Council Chair Bill Edwards and President Richard Downie attended, as did the executive director of the Asia Society of Southern California, Anjali Sharan.

Last August, Los Angeles hosted the Indo Pacific Economic Forum, sometimes called the Quad Plus because it adds the ten ASEAN countries. Dr. Reddy participated as part of India’s Ministry of Commerce at the time. Asked why India was the only country that did not support the trade pillar of the forum, he said that that the forum did not offer any trade concessions or advantages to India.

The Panda in the Room

Maintaining the light-hearted approach, Bagla then turned to what he called “the elephant or rather the panda in the room, China.” He asked Dawson, “You spent ten years in China. What is your view of China and Quad?”

Dawson answered crisply, saying that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had spelled out two policies, one for China (invest, align with partners, compete responsibly) and another for the Indo-Pacific region, and that the latter one was also to promotes rules of international trade in the region and cooperation.

Sone stated that Japan is working to maintain a stable relationship with China.

Encouraged to say more, panelists added that with China came many more opportunities, that they could encourage China to do the right thing, that communication is always important, and that rules of international trade often benefit all, including China and its people.

Before and after the panel discussion there was plenty of professional networking among the audience and the panelists.

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