US President Joe Biden today said that Quad is “not just a passing fad but it means business,” asserting that the four leaders of the grouping are here to get things done for the region and that he is proud of what they are building together.
Addressing the second in-person meeting between Quad leaders, President Biden attacked Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, saying it is trying to extinguish a culture.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australia’s newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attended the second in-person meeting of Quad leaders in Tokyo during which they exchanged views about developments in the Indo-Pacific region and global issues of mutual interest.
Joe Biden welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Summit and said “it is wonderful to see you again in person”.
“We share the same goal of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific that will deliver greater prosperity and greater opportunity for all of our children. I am looking forward to continuing to work with all of you and to strengthen economic cooperation to deliver inclusive growth and shared prosperity,” President Biden said in his opening remarks.
“We’ve shown that Quad is not just a passing fad, we mean business. We’re here to get things done for the region, and I’m proud of what we’re building together and I look forward to our vital partnership flourishing and for many years to come,” President Biden said.
He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is just trying to extinguish a culture. This is more than a European issue. It is a global issue.
On the global food security issue in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is one of the major exporters of wheat, the US President said that the global food crisis may worsen by Russia blocking Ukraine from exporting its grains.
“As long as Russia continues war against Ukraine, the US will work with its partners,” President Biden vowed.
Addressing the Quad Summit, newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Albanese said that his government is committed to working with the Quad countries.
“My government gives priority to building a more resilient Indo-Pacific region,” Albanese, who was sworn in as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister on Monday, said.
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, who received all the Quad leaders ahead of the Summit here, said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine challenges the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.
The summit is taking place under the shadow of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
It is also taking place at a time when the relations between China and the Quad member countries have become tense, with Beijing increasingly challenging democratic values and resorting to coercive trade practices.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
On the eve of the summit, Biden on Monday launched the ambitious Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), which is an initiative aimed at deeper cooperation among like-minded countries in areas such as clean energy, supply-chain resilience and digital trade.
The rollout of the IPEF is expected to send across a signal that the US is focused on pushing forward a strong economic policy for the region to counter China’s aggressive strategy on trade in the region.
In March last year, President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format that was followed by an in-person summit in Washington in September. The Quad leaders also held a virtual meeting in March.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amidst China’s growing military presence in the strategic region.