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Suga builds on Abe's legacy with Quad diplomacy

Quasi-alliances with India and Australia provide Japan firmer footing to take on China

From left, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The top diplomats will meet in Tokyo on Oct. 6 for "Quad" talks. (Source photos AP, U.S. Navy)

TOKYO -- New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga entered the world of top-level diplomacy in an atmosphere of deep uncertainty, exemplified by U.S. President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis last week.

A particular moment on Sept. 25, during his initial round of calls with fellow leaders, was especially enlightening. That day, a call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was slipped into the schedule before Suga was set to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The talk with Xi started at 9 p.m., while the Modi call began just after 4:30 p.m.

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