Eyes on China as Quad Leaders Vow to Stand Together for Free and Open Indo-Pacific

TOKYO—With eyes on an increasingly assertive China, “Quad” leaders from the Indo-Pacific nations of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia met on Tuesday morning to discuss cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The four Indo-Pacific leaders vowed to stand together for a free and open region at the start of talks, vowing also to work on fighting for peace, prosperity, and stability in the region, and coordinating responses to address U.N. predictions of catastrophic climate change and energy security.

“This is what this [is] about, democracy vs. autocracy—we have to make sure democracy is delivered,” U.S. President Joe Biden said.

In addition to the morning leaders summit, Biden will also meet for bilateral talks with India and Australia, which has a newly elected prime minister, Anthony Albanese, who was sworn in on Monday.

According to an official, Biden will look to “build on the commonalities” that he shares with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the talks despite differences on issues including Russia. Modi is also set to meet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for talks and a working dinner.

NTD Photo
U.S. President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet for the Quad Summit leaders at Kantei Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on May 24, 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Modi at the leaders’ summit said that India would work toward the Quad’s shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and “continue to strengthen the image of the Quad as a force for good.”

Taiwan was not an official item on the Quad agenda, a U.S. official said, but it was expected to be a key topic when the four leaders meet a day after Biden broke with convention and committed U.S. military support for the self-governed island claimed by China’s ruling Communist Party, which is still at war with Taiwan.

India is the only Quad member to not condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It has a long-standing relationship with Moscow, which remains a major supplier of its defense equipment and some oil supplies. India abstained in U.N. Security Council votes on the issue, though it did raise concerns about some killings of civilians in Ukraine.

But officials at the Quad will emphasize shared views on China, which the Indo-Pacific nations view as a bigger long-term challenge than Russia.

“The president is very aware that countries have their own histories, they have their own interests, they have their own outlooks, and the idea is to build on commonalities,” said a U.S. official.

India has developed close ties with Washington in recent years and is a vital part of the Quad grouping aimed at pushing back against Beijing.

The United States is considering “investment support” of $4 billion for India on top of billions of dollars extended earlier, New Delhi said on Monday, after the two sides signed an agreement for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing, health care, renewable energy, financial inclusion, and infrastructure.

India also joined the United States and 11 other countries in U.S.-led economic talks called the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times