The leaders of America, Japan, India and Australia on Friday (24/9) announced a joint determination to safeguard democracy in the Indo-Pacific region, without addressing shared concerns about China’s growing power.
The leaders of the four nations, known as “The Quad,” met at the White House, marking the first time US President Joe Biden has held a face-to-face meeting during his presidency.
“We are four great democracies with a long history of cooperation. We know how to get things done and are ready to face challenges,” said Biden, accompanied by three other leaders, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
While the four leaders did not directly mention China in their remarks, Beijing is expected to be a big focus of their private meeting.
Suga said the meeting showed “unwavering determination” among the four countries for a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Morrison said, “We believe in a free and open Indo-Pacific, because we know that’s what makes a strong, stable, and prosperous region.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian appeared to criticize the Quad in his comments to reporters Friday morning in Beijing.
“Closed and exclusive clicks targeting other countries are against the trends of the times and the aspirations of regional countries. It will not get support and will surely fail,” he said. [ps/pp]