WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden will host the first in-person summit of the leaders of the “quad” countries – Australia, India, Japan and the United States – who are seeking to step up cooperation to counter China’s growing assertiveness.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the summit would take place on September 24 at the White House in Washington. The US visit of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will accompany the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which Biden will address on September 21.
A virtual meeting of the Quad leaders was held in March, and they resolved to work together on COVID-19 vaccines and climate change, and to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific to meet the challenges from Beijing.
“Hosting the leaders of the Quad reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s priority to engage in the Indo-Pacific region, including new multilateral configurations, to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Psaki said.
Biden’s Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said in July that the long-planned in-person meeting should lead to “decisive” commitments on vaccine diplomacy and infrastructure.
Biden, who has been spending big on infrastructure at home, said in March he suggested to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that democracies have an infrastructure to rival China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative. There should be a framework plan, which includes projects from East Asia to Europe.
Saki said that the Quad leaders would “deepen our ties and practical cooperation on areas such as combating COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.” We will focus on moving forward.”
A senior US official said infrastructure would be among the topics to be discussed at the summit.
withdrawal from afghanistan
The quad meeting will come as Biden’s image has been tarnished over the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. US officials have said ending America’s longest war would allow the administration to divert resources and attention from dealing with China-related issues.
Republican Senator Bill Haggerty, the former US ambassador to Japan, welcomed the plan to host the Quad leaders.
“The debacle of Biden’s return to Afghanistan makes India’s neighborhood more dangerous and raises valid questions for Japan and Australia as well, so it’s good that we host Quad Partners soon,” he said on Twitter.
“We must repair and renew our alliances, and that’s important.”
Vaccine initiatives were stalled from the first summit after India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, caused a catastrophic wave of infections and halted vaccine exports.
At the March summit, the four leaders agreed that Indian drugmaker Biologicals E. Ltd. will produce at least one billion coronavirus vaccine doses by the end of 2022, primarily for Southeast Asian and Pacific countries.
Japan’s Kyodo News reported last week that Suga will travel to Washington for the quad meeting this month, even though his term as leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party – and as Japan’s prime minister by default – ends on September 30. Used to be.
Suga became the first leader to hold a one-on-one White House summit with Biden in April, underscoring Japan’s central role in US efforts to confront China.