US President Joe Biden will host a first in-person summit next week of leaders of the “Quad” countries – Australia, India, Japan and the United States – the White House announced on Monday.
The four-leader summit will be held at the White House on September 24, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian and Japanese counterparts Scott Morrison and Yoshihide Suga are expected in the United States next week to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
A virtual meeting of leaders of Quad countries, who seek to strengthen cooperation in the face of China’s growing power and assertiveness, was held in March. At this meeting, leaders pledged to work closely on vaccines and the COVID-19 climate and ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of Beijing’s challenges.
“Welcoming Quad leaders demonstrates the priority of the Biden-Harris administration to engage in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations 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-scheduled face-to-face meeting is expected to bring “breakthrough” commitments on diplomacy and vaccine infrastructure.
Biden, who is pushing big infrastructure spending in his country, said in March that he suggested to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that democratic countries should have an infrastructure plan to compete with China’s huge initiative. Belt and Road “, which involves projects from East Asia to Europe.
Psaki said the Quad Leaders “will focus on deepening our ties and promoting practical cooperation in areas such as tackling COVID-19, tackling the climate crisis, partnership on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and the promotion of a free and open Indo-Pacific “.
A senior U.S. official said infrastructure would be among a range of topics discussed at the in-person summit.
The first summit’s vaccine initiative was stalled after India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, was hit by a catastrophic wave of infections and halted vaccine exports.
At the March summit, the four leaders agreed that Indian drug maker Biological E Ltd will produce at least one billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2022, mostly for countries in Southeast Asia. East and Pacific.
Japanese magazine Kyodo News announced last week that Prime Minister Suga will be traveling to Washington this month for the Quad meeting, even though his tenure as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party – and by default as Prime Minister of Japan – ends September 30.
Prime Minister Suga became the first leader to hold a face-to-face WhiteHouse summit with Biden in April, highlighting Japan’s central role in US efforts to confront China.
The Quad meeting will come after Biden’s image has been shaken by the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. U.S. officials have said that ending the United States’ longest war would allow the administration to divert resources and attention to tackling issues related to China.
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