US hosts first-ever in-person ‘Quad’ meeting as attention to China increases

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The first in-person ‘Quad’ meeting was held Friday at the White House as four major capitals around the world look to counter China’s growing influence.

US President Joe Biden hosted the leaders of Japan, Australia and India for the first time.

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“This group being of democratic partners who share a worldview and have a common vision for the future, coming together to take on key challenges of our age. From COVID-19 to climate to emerging technologies, it embodies an approach I spoke of at the UN earlier this week,” Biden said before the meeting.

“When we met six months ago, we made concrete commitments to advance our shared and positive agenda for a free and open Indo-Pacific. Today I’m proud to say that we’re making excellent progress,” he said.

“Our vaccine initiative is on track to produce an additional one billion doses of vaccine in India to boost global supply. We’re taking action on climate change with new partnership toward zero-emissions shipping,” he added.

The US president also announced a new Quad fellowship for students from each of the four countries to pursue advanced degrees in leading STEM programs in the US.

“In sum, we’re four major democracies with a long history of cooperation. We know how to get things done, and we are up to the challenge,” Biden said.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also known as the ‘Quad,’ was formed in 2007 by former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, with the goal of peace and security in the region.

According to sources familiar with the gathering, Friday’s meeting was to touch on a broad range of issues, including 5G technology, climate change, supply chains and regional security.

During a call with reporters on Thursday, a senior Biden administration official said a new working group on space would be announced after the meeting as well.

Sources told reporters that Friday’s meeting would include discussions on China and its destabilizing behavior. But, the Quad “is not targeting any one country,” the source said.

The US official who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity stressed that the Quad did not have a military or security dimension. This was in response to a question about the recently announced Indo-Pacific alliance between the US, Australia and the United Kingdom (AUKUS).

Following the summit on Friday, the leaders of the four participating countries are scheduled to make public remarks.

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