US President Joe Biden discussed challenges posed by China with leaders from India, Japan and Australia in a meeting on Friday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
Sullivan told reporters at a briefing that the virtual meeting between the Quad countries, a group central to Biden's efforts to counter China's growing military and economic power in the Indo-Pacific, did not focus on China, but touched on freedom of navigation in the East and South China Seas.
The leaders of the United States, Australia, Japan and India pledged to work closely on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, climate issues and security after a meeting on Friday that is seen as part of an effort to counter China’s growing influence.
“We strive for a region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion,” the so-called “Quad” countries said in a joint statement.
The group will form a vaccine partnership aimed at accelerating the end of the coronavirus pandemic by expanding vaccine manufacturing and help Indo-Pacific countries with vaccination, according to a fact sheet from the group.
The United States will finance increased capacity to support Indian drugmaker Biological E Ltd’s effort to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022, it said.
Japan is in discussions to provide concessional yen loans to India to expand manufacturing for COVID-19 vaccines for export.
The Quad countries also formed a working group to tackle climate issues, including to strengthen implementation of the Paris climate accord, as well as a working group for critical and emerging technology, the statement said.
The latter will develop a statement of principles on technology development and use and encourage cooperation on telecommunications deployment and diversification of equipment suppliers.
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