Biden seeks a ‘free and open’ Pacific with Australia, India, and Japan at a new summit.
President Joe Biden and the leaders of Australia, India, and Japan made a veiled dig at China during their first in-person summit on Friday, promising to work together for a stable, open, and democratic Indo-Pacific.
The so-called Quad decided to press forward on a coordinated plan to supply Covid-19 vaccines around Asia, established a new climate project, and said the four nations would begin convening yearly summits in Biden’s latest push to maintain US leadership in the face of a growing China.
In a joint statement, the presidents of the four democracies said they were dedicated to “promoting the free, open, rules-based order, established in international law and undaunted by coercion,” without specifically mentioning China.
They stated, “We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic ideals, and state territorial integrity.”
The phrase “free and open” has come to mean concern about China’s growing economic, diplomatic, and military presence, as well as risks to crucial international sea lanes.
As the negotiations began, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that the four “liberal democracies” were aiming to create a “strong, stable, and prosperous region.”
The conference demonstrated the four countries’ “same vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the Quad’s “shared democratic ideals,” despite his own contentious record on minority rights at home.
While the leaders avoided mentioning China in public, Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Tomoyuki Yoshida said Suga expressed “serious concern” during the meetings about Beijing’s aggression at sea, trampling of Hong Kong’s special status, and mass incarceration of the Uyghur minority.
Biden, who frequently speaks about democracies having to prove their worth in the face of big autocracies like Russia and China, wanted to emphasize that the Quad was about action.
“We are four big democracies with a long history of working together. He stated, “We know how to get things done and we are up to the challenge.”
By the end of next month, India plans to export eight million one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
“This is an immediate delivery from the Quad into the Indo-Pacific region,” Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters, promising to provide vaccinations of “quality and affordability.”
While the number is little – Biden vowed earlier this week that the United States would contribute an additional 500 million doses to the world – it signifies India’s return. Brief News from Washington Newsday.