The four leaders would discuss deepening their ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas like combatting Covid-19, addressing the climate crisis and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, reports Asian Lite News

US President Joe Biden would host the first-ever in-person Quad summit on September 24 which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga, the White House announced on Monday.

The four leaders would discuss deepening their ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas like combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

In March, President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format that vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion, sending a subtle message to China.

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will host the first-ever Quad Leader’s Summit at the White House on September 24. President Biden is looking forward to welcoming to the White House Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan,” Psaki said.

The Biden-Harris administration has made elevating the Quad a priority, as seen through the first-ever Quad Leaders-level engagement in March, which was virtual, and now this Summit, which will be in-person, she said.

“Hosting the 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,” she said.

According to the White House, the Quad Leaders will be focused on deepening their ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The Quad summit will take place amidst China’s aggressive behaviour in the resource-rich South China Sea.

Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.

Biden, who is pushing big infrastructure spending at home, said in March he had suggested to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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. read more

Psaki said the Quad Leaders would “be focused on deepening our ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combating COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting 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 Quad meeting will come after Biden’s image has taken a battering over the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. U.S. officials have said ending America’s longest war will allow the administration to divert resources and attention to tackling China-related issues. read more

Senator Bill Hagerty, a Republican, and former U.S. ambassador to Japan, welcomed the plan to host the Quad leaders.

“Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal debacle made India’s neighborhood more dangerous & raises legitimate questions for Japan and Australia as well, so it’s good we will be hosting Quad partners soon,” he said on Twitter.

“We must repair & renew our alliances, and this one is key.”

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