Biden seeks to consolidate Quad as a bulwark of democracy against China
By Beatriz Pascual Macías
Washington, Sept. 24 (EFE) .- US President Joe Biden used the Quad Group’s first face-to-face summit on Friday to consolidate it as a bulwark of democracy against Chinese expansion and domination in the Indo region. peaceful.
The Quad, made up of India, Australia, Japan, and the United States, premiered in 2007 and lay dormant for years until Biden decided to resurrect it with a first virtual reunion. of its heads of state and government in March.
This time, sitting together in the East Room of the White House, Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shaped their alliance.
At the start of the meeting, Biden described the Quad as a group of countries with a similar worldview and, with particular emphasis, said, “We are four great democracies with a long history of cooperation. We know how to get things done and we are up to the challenge.
During his last visit to the White House as leader of Japan, Suga said the Quad meeting reflects the “strong solidarity between our four nations and our unwavering commitment to the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. “.
Morrison also echoed this aspiration for an Indo-Pacific “without coercion, where the sovereign rights of all nations are respected and where disputes are resolved peacefully in accordance with international law.” “
The Australian leader did not discuss China and its rise to power in the region, which he sees as part of his sphere of influence, but he did join Biden’s conception of the world as a competition between democracies and regimes. authoritarian.
“We are liberal democracies who believe in a world order that promotes freedom. And we believe in a free and open Indo-Pacific because we know this is what provides a strong, stable and prosperous region so that our citizens, our people can realize their hopes and dreams for their future in a liberal society. and free, ”added Morrison. .
In addition, Modi spoke of his desire to consolidate the commitment made by the Quad at its first summit in March: to provide 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines throughout Asia before the end of 2022.
Those efforts slowed in April after India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, suspended exports amid rising infections in the country.
India has already announced that it will resume exports in October and prioritize the Covax program.
“Today, as the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are coming together again, as a Quad, and working for the benefit of humanity, based on our vaccine initiative Quad will greatly help countries in the Indo-Pacific region, ”highlighted Modi.
The leaders also announced a ‘quads scholarship’ program which, over the next year and a half, will enable 100 students – 25 from each of the four countries – to pursue master’s and doctoral studies related to science and research. technology at elite American universities.
Talks to ban illegal fishing, tackle the climate crisis and strengthen the semiconductor supply chain, which was disrupted during the pandemic, were also on the agenda, senior officials told reporters. administration.
They also discussed the development of 5G networks, with Beijing currently leading the 5G race thanks to Huawei, Washington trying to develop the technology against the clock and seeking support from other countries to prevent Huawei from dominating the market.
None of the leaders responded to questions from the press about China.
Friday’s summit came just a week after Australia, the UK and the US presented their AUKUS defense alliance to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific.
This announcement is accompanied by Australia’s cancellation of a multibillion-dollar contract to build submarines with France for nuclear-powered submarines with the help of the United States and the United Kingdom. United, causing a crisis between the members of the group and their European partners.
AUKUS and the Quad meeting show that Biden sees the Indo-Pacific as the stage where Washington and Beijing will compete for global hegemony. EFE