Biden to host first meeting with Asian leaders next week

Biden to host first meeting with Asian leaders next week

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, not pictured, attend a virtual meeting with the Asia-Pacific nations leaders at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 12, 2021. Washington, Sept 13 Reuters - President Joe Biden is going to host the first meeting of leaders from the Quad countries - Australia, India, Japan and the United States next week - according to a senior U.S. official in Reuters.

The Summit will be held at the White House on 24 Sept., said an official. 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 next week.

In March, a virtual meeting of the leadership of the Quad countries, which have been seeking to enhance cooperation in the face of China's increasing power and assertiveness, was held. In that meeting, the leaders pledged to work closely on COVID - 19 vaccines and climate and to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of challenges from Beijing. Hosting leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration's priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st century, the senior administration official told Reuters.

Kurt Campbell, biden's Indo-Pacific coordinator, Biden, said in July that the long planned in-person meeting should bring decisive commitments on vaccine diplomacy and infrastructure. Boris Johnson, who is pushing big infrastructure spending at home, said in March he had suggested to the British Prime Minister that democratic countries should have an infrastructure plan to rival China's massive Belt and Road Initiative, which involves projects from East Asia to Europe. The senior U.S. official said Quad Leaders would be focused on deepening our ties and advancing pragmatic cooperation on areas such as combating COVID - 19, addressing climate crisis, partnering with emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific. The vaccines initiative from the first summit stalled after India, the world's largest vaccine producer, was hit by a catastrophic wave of infections and halted vaccine exports.

The four leaders agreed at the March summit that Indian drugmaker Biological E Ltd would produce at least a billion coronavirus vaccine doses by 2022, mainly for Southeast Asian and Pacific countries.

Japan's Kyodo news reported last week that Suga would visit Washington this month for the Quad meeting even though his term as leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party - and by default as Japan's prime minister - ends on Sept. 30. read more

Suga became the first leader to hold a face-to-face summit with Biden in April, underscoring Japan's central role in U.S. efforts to conquer China. The Quad meeting will come after a Biden's image took a battering over the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan by the President-elect. In June of this year, U.S. officials said that ending the longest war in China will allow the administration to divert resources and attention from addressing American-related issues.