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Senior officials from the United States, Australia, India and Japan on Friday reaffirmed the need to advance a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” region and agreed to coordinate the next “Quad” foreign ministers’ meeting next year, the U.S. and Japanese governments said.

The virtual meeting followed a gathering of foreign ministers from the four countries in Tokyo in October and came just over a month ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s departure from office. The Trump administration has viewed the grouping as helpful to counter China’s growing clout in the region.

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