FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, not pictured, attend a virtual meeting with Asia-Pacific nation leaders at the White House in Washington, US, March 12, 2021. Reuters / Tom Brenner
September 13, 2021
by David Brunstrom
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden will host the first in-person summit of the leaders of the “quad” nations – Australia, India, Japan and the United States – next week, the White House said on Monday.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the summit of the four leaders would take place on September 24 at the White House. The prime ministers of Australia, India and Japan – Scott Morrison, Narendra Modi and Yoshihide Suga – are expected to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York in the United States next week.
A virtual meeting of the leaders of the Quad countries, which is seeking to increase cooperation in the face of China’s growing power and assertiveness, was held in March. At that meeting, the leaders resolved to work together on COVID-19 vaccines and climate, and to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific to meet the challenges from Beijing.
“Hosting the leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s priority to engage in the Indo-Pacific, including the new multilateral configuration to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Psaki said in the statement.
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. [L2N2ND2WV]
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 in-person summit.
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 Biological E Ltd would 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 Whitehouse summit with Biden in April, underscoring Japan’s central role in US efforts to counter China.
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.
(Reporting by David Brunstrom; Editing by Grant McCool)