Quad leaders press for free Indo-Pacific, with wary eye on China

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Leaders of the United States, Japan, India and Australia vowed on Friday to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific region “undaunted by coercion” at their first in-person summit, which presented a united front amid shared concerns about China.

The two-hour meeting at the White House of the Quad, as the grouping of four major democracies is called, will be watched closely in Beijing, which criticized the group as “doomed to fail.”

“ We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity of states,” U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a joint statement after the talks.

While China was not mentioned in the public remarks by the four leaders or in the lengthy joint statement and a factsheet issued afterwards, Beijing was clearly top of mind.

Their statement made frequent mention of the leaders’ insistence on rules-based behavior in a region where China has been trying to flex its muscles.

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Source: Reuters