White House Hosts Indo-Pacific Leaders as China Concerns Grow

September 24, 2021by Aamer Madhani, Associated Press
White House Hosts Indo-Pacific Leaders as China Concerns Grow
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to Vice President Kamala Harris, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Harris' ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Friday is set to host the first in-person gathering of leaders of an Indo-Pacific alliance known as “the Quad” as he wraps up a difficult week of diplomacy after facing no shortage of criticism from allies and adversaries.

The White House meeting with leaders from India, Japan and Australia gives Biden a chance to put the spotlight on a chief foreign policy goal: greater attention to the Pacific in light of what the United States sees as China’s coercive economic practices and unsettling military maneuvering in the region.

The leaders are expected to announce a coronavirus vaccine initiative, plans to bolster semiconductor supply chains and a program to bring graduate and doctoral students in STEM fields to U.S. universities.

Before the summit, the Japanese and Indian governments welcomed a recent announcement that the U.S., as part of a new alliance with Britain and Australia, would equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. 


That will allow Australia to conduct longer patrols and give it an edge on the Chinese navy. But the announcement infuriated France, which accused the Biden administration of stabbing it in the back by squelching its own $66 billion deal to provide diesel-powered submarines. 

Tensions between Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron eased after the two leaders spoke Wednesday and agreed to take steps to coordinate more closely in the Indo-Pacific.

Michael Green, who served as senior director for Asia at the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration, said Japan and India welcome the United States-United Kingdom-Australian alliance “because it will really for the next 50 years reset the trajectories in naval power in the Pacific and from the perspective of those countries stabilize things as China massively builds up its naval forces.”

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called it a reflection of “outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception” that would intensify a regional arms race. 

Beijing has also sought to push the notion that creation of the alliance indicates the U.S. will favor Australia in the Quad at the expense of Japan and India, said Bonny Lin, senior fellow for Asian security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. 

China also has tried to undercut the Quad as out of step with other nations in Southeast Asia and portrayed members of the Quad as “U.S. pawns,” Lin said.

The White House meeting is playing out as China continues efforts to make a show of force in the region. 

On Thursday, China sent 24 fighter jets toward Taiwan  after Taiwan announced its intention to join a Pacific trade group, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. China has also applied for membership.


During his busy week of diplomacy, Biden addressed the U.N. General Assembly and hosted a virtual global summit on COVID-19. 

Biden and leaders of other wealthy nations faced criticism about the slow pace of global vaccinations and the inequity of access to shots between residents of wealthier and poorer nations. The pushback from leaders of low- and moderate-income countries came even as Biden announced plans for the U.S. to double to 1 billion doses its purchase of Pfizer vaccine to share with the world.

In addition to the Quad meeting, Biden is scheduled to meet separately with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is soon to step down from his post.

First lady Jill Biden, who spent time with Suga when she visited Japan for the Summer Olympic, is expected to join for part of the meeting. 

Modi plans to bring up Afghanistan, according to a person familiar with Modi’s agenda who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Modi is expected to raise objections to the Taliban’s effort to get recognition at the United Nations. The Indian government also has concerns about the influence it believes Pakistan’s intelligence service exerted in how factions of the Taliban divvied up government offices in Kabul.

When the Taliban previously controlled Afghanistan, the group supported militants in Kashmir, a long disputed territory at the center of wars and skirmishes between India and Pakistan. The Haqqani network was behind two suicide bombings of India’s embassy in 2008 and 2009. Members of the network, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization, have been given top positions in the Taliban government.

Suga is expected to discuss China, North Korea, Afghanistan, the COVID-19 response and climate change, according to a foreign ministry official who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. 

North Korea last week said it successfully launched ballistic missiles from a train for the first time, striking a target in the sea some 800 kilometers (500 miles) away.

That test came after the North this month said it tested new cruise missiles, which it intends to make nuclear-capable, that can strike targets 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) away, a distance putting all of Japan and U.S. military installations there within reach.


___

Associated Press writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed reporting.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Geopolitics

June 26, 2022
by Dan McCue
Biden, G7 Leaders Introduce Global Infrastructure Partnership

SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany — Solar microgrids, advanced nuclear, an undersea telecommunications cable and other climate resilient projects are part of... Read More

SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany — Solar microgrids, advanced nuclear, an undersea telecommunications cable and other climate resilient projects are part of a new Partnership for Global Infrastructure unveiled Sunday at the start of the G7 Summit. President Joe Biden and western allies opened their three-day summit in... Read More

Biden to Visit 'Pariah' Saudi Arabia and Israel Next Month

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden confirmed on Tuesday that he will visit Saudi Arabia next month for talks with... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden confirmed on Tuesday that he will visit Saudi Arabia next month for talks with leaders of the kingdom, a dramatic reordering of his stance on the kingdom that he pledged to make a “pariah” as a Democratic candidate for the White House.... Read More

June 9, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Senate Seeks Ways to Help Europe as Russian Sanctions Cut Energy Supply

WASHINGTON — Next winter looks bleak for Europe without prompt assistance from the United States as war in Ukraine depletes... Read More

WASHINGTON — Next winter looks bleak for Europe without prompt assistance from the United States as war in Ukraine depletes energy sources, a State Department official told senators Thursday. Until the war started almost four months ago, about 27% of Europe’s oil and 45% of its... Read More

Biden Seeks Consensus at Fractured Americas Summit

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden plunged into this week's Summit of the Americas aiming to push for regional progress... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden plunged into this week's Summit of the Americas aiming to push for regional progress in addressing economic development, climate change and migration despite the absence of some notable counterparts from Latin America. With the U.S. playing host to the gathering for the... Read More

June 8, 2022
by Reece Nations
Blinken Discusses Economic Agenda, Challenges at Summit of the Americas 

LOS ANGELES — Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the stage at the Ninth Summit of the Americas on Wednesday... Read More

LOS ANGELES — Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the stage at the Ninth Summit of the Americas on Wednesday to discuss the economic priorities of the Biden-Harris administration and how its international partnerships play into those commitments. Blinken was joined onstage by U.S. Chamber of... Read More

Biden in Asia: New Friends, Old Tensions, Storms at Home

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Joe Biden hopes to use his visit to Asia to confirm his belief that... Read More

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Joe Biden hopes to use his visit to Asia to confirm his belief that long-standing friendships can afford to become even friendlier — and pay dividends. He opened the trip in South Korea on Friday and will end in Japan... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top