China tried to warn US off supporting Quad, US president Biden reveals
US president Joe Biden (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US PRESIDENT Joe Biden revealed that China tried to warn him against strengthening the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, referred to as the Quad.
The Quad group is an informal strategic dialogue with four members — India, Japan, Australia and the US that has a common objective to ensure and sustain an open, free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
Addressing a press conference at the conclusion of the G7 summit on Sunday (13), Biden recalled his conversation with a Chinese leader who had asked about his international relations plans before he assumed the presidency.
Biden did not reveal the identity of the Chinese leader.
“When I was asked what I was going to be doing after being elected, I said we’re going to re-establish the strength of American relationships so we can be counted on again…,” Biden said.
The Chinese leader then requested Biden to not get India, Japan, Australia, and the US together under the Quad umbrella.
He suggested that “Well, maybe you (Biden) shouldn’t get the Quad…” – meaning India, Japan, Australia, and the United States – “…working together,” Biden recalled.
However, after assuming office in January, Biden hosted the first virtual summit of Quad leaders on March 12.
The Quad member nations agreed to uphold a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific amid growing reach of China in the region.
In November 2017, the Quad group shaped a proposal to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
The US favours Quad as a security architecture to check China’s growing assertiveness.
China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.
Referring to China, Biden said unlike the previous G7 summits there was a clear action plan related to the region this time, including a “climate-friendly, transparent alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative.”
To counter China, G7 leaders adopted a plan to support lower-and middle-income countries in building better infrastructure through the US-backed Build Back Better World (B3W) plan.
“I think we’re in a contest — not with China per se, but a contest with autocrats, autocratic governments around the world, as to whether or not democracies can compete with them in the rapidly changing 21st century,” Biden said on Sunday (13).
“You’re going to see just straightforward dealing with China. And again, we’re not looking — as I’ve told Xi myself, I’m not looking for conflict. Where we can cooperate, we’ll cooperate. Where we disagree, I’m going to state it frankly, and we are going to respond to actions that are inconsistent,” Biden added.