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Joe Biden has told his key Asian allies that the world is “at a black moment in our shared history” because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the President of the United States, who spoke in Japan at the Quadripartite Security Dialogue (QUAD) summit, the war in Ukraine has become a global problem and the protection of the world order has now become especially important.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida backed Biden, saying an invasion like Russia’s in Ukraine should not happen in Asia.
Four countries in the QUAD group of countries (US, Japan, Australia and India) discussed security and economic issues in Tokyo, including the growing influence of China and disagreements over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine will affect all parts of the world, Biden said, as Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain exports exacerbates the global food crisis.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was one of the topics of the summit.
“Russia’s unilateral, illegal, immoral attack on the people of Ukraine is outrageous, and the atrocities committed against innocent civilians are something we could not expect in the 21st century,” he told reporters, adding that there were expressed “hard points”.
Despite the fact that the leaders of the four strive to demonstrate unanimity, there are also differences between them.
India is so far the only member of the Quartet that has refused to directly criticize Russia for the invasion. In his opening remarks at the summit on Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no mention of the war in Ukraine at all.
The four leaders said in a joint statement that they discussed the conflict in Ukraine and the ongoing tragic humanitarian crisis in the country. However, obviously as a concession to India, Russia is never mentioned in the text of the statement.
What is the QUAD and why is China concerned about it?
The Quadripartite Security Dialogue was created in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami as a loose group of countries that came together to provide humanitarian and disaster relief.
After that, this format practically did not work for several years, but due to the steady decline in bilateral ties between each of the four countries with China in recent years, analysts believe, it has again become necessary.
Participating countries are concerned about China’s growing assertiveness in the region, ongoing maritime disputes between China and neighboring countries, and land border conflict with India.
Beijing’s heavy investment in its navy and its recent security pact with the Solomon Islands have raised fears in Australia, while Japan has become increasingly wary of Chinese ship violations of its maritime borders.
The day before, Biden warned Beijing that China was playing with fire in the situation around Taiwan, and promised to defend the island by military means in case of a Chinese attack. This blunt statement ran counter to Washington’s usual, more vague language.
Biden later said that the US approach on this issue, which analysts call the “strategy of uncertainty”, has not changed. Nevertheless, Biden’s statement became one of the main topics of the summit.
Seeking to protect U.S. interests in the region, Biden on Monday unveiled the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a new U.S.-led trade pact aimed at promoting regional growth that includes 13 countries, mostly in Asia.
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo called it “an important turning point in restoring US economic leadership in the region,” which will provide countries with an alternative to Chinese influence.
The treaty sets standards in trade, supply chains, clean energy and infrastructure, as well as taxes and anti-corruption.
Experts see IPEF as a way to restart US engagement with the Indo-Pacific after US President Donald Trump’s sudden decision in 2017 to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
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