US aims to call in-person Quad meeting in autumn
(Photo by NICOLAS DATICHE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
THE US is planning to organise an in-person fall summit of leaders of the Quad countries with focus on infrastructure amid challenges from China, president Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific policy coordinator said.
Kurt Campbell said other countries were also welcome to work with the Quad group, which includes Australia, India and Japan.
“We want to look this fall to convene an in-person Quad and the hope will be to make a similar kind of engagement on infrastructure more generally,” Campbell told an online event hosted by Stanford University.
“And I do want to underscore … this is not a fancy club. If there are other countries that believe that they’d like to engage and work with us, the door will be open as we go forward,” he said.
The Quad group held its first virtual summit in March and pledged to work closely on Covid-19 vaccines, climate and security.
The March Quad summit was carefully organised to counter China’s growing influence. Biden and his fellow leaders also pledged to work and ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of growing challenges from Beijing.
Campbell said the “dominant paradigm” between China and the US would now be one of competition, as the period of US engagement with China had “come to an end”.
“Our goal is to make that a stable, peaceful competition that brings out the best in us,” he said, while cautioning, “There will likely be periods ahead, in which there will be moments of concern.”
The “operating system”, the US had helped build in Asia remained intact, but was “under substantial strain” in the face of China’s rise, he added.
“It’s going to need to be reinvigorated in a number of ways, not just by the United States, but other countries that use the operating system and that means Japan, that means South Korea, Australia, countries in Europe that want to do more in Asia and across the board.”
Meanwhile, in response to Campbell’s statement, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it was “completely wrong” of Washington to use competition to define the relationship between the two countries and said Beijing “firmly rejected the US’ efforts to exclude, contain and suppress China under the banner of competition”.
Biden is pushing for big infrastructure spending in the US. In March, he had suggested to British prime minister Boris Johnson that democratic countries should have an infrastructure plan to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
In 2013, China’s president Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road programme that involved projects from East Asia to Europe and is seen as a means of significantly expanding Beijing’s economic and political influence.