'Quad' FMs voice opposition to arms deal between Russia, North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, shown speaking Wednesday at the United Nations Security Council in New York, has agreed with other members of the "Quad" nations to oppose any arms deals between Russia and North Korea. Photo by Jason Szenes/UPI

Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The United States, Australia, India and Japan have called for stronger security cooperation between nations in an effort to deter a potential weapons deal between North Korea and Russia.

The group of allies, commonly referred to as the Quad, met Friday in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly to address growing tensions throughout Asia and the Far East.

The sit-down was attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Japan's Yoko Kamikawa.

In the first Quadrilateral Security Dialogue gathering since March, the members faced critical global challenges, including the changing dynamics in Ukraine, as well as North Korea's expanding nuclear program and China's increasing aggressiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

The meeting came in the shadow of a visit to Moscow earlier this month by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid concerns over a possible military pact in which Moscow would get ammunition to fight Ukraine in exchange for sending satellite technology and other weapons to Pyongyang.

After emerging from Friday's meeting, Quad leaders vowed to oppose any unilateral changes to U.N. Security Council resolutions, particularly those that Russia voted for previously to prevent military cooperation with North Korea.

Notably, Russia maintains veto power as a member of the body, along with Britain, China, France and the United States.

The leaders said they would push for reforms at the UN in response to disputes that have grown among the international community due to the war in Ukraine.

"We strongly support the principles of freedom, the rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and peaceful settlement of disputes," the group ministers said in a joint statement. "We concur that the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable."

The meeting also came on the heels of the August BRICS summit, where the leaders of China, Russia, India and Brazil gathered in South Africa to expand a coalition of unaligned powers that would counter Western influence throughout the world.

Earlier this week, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi was also in Russia for talks on boosting security and strategic coordination as the countries seek to deepen their alliance amid the Ukraine war.

The next Quad meeting is planned for next year in Japan.