May 24, 2022 - World

Quad leaders discuss Russia, China tensions at Tokyo summit

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, President Biden, Japanese leader Fumio Kishida and Indian leaderNarendra Modi attend a Quad event on May 24 in Tokyo.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, President Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the Quad Fellowship Founding Celebration event in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday. Photo: Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

President Biden met with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in Tokyo on Tuesday for a second in-person summit of the Indo-Pacific Quad countries.

Driving the news: While the leaders discussed the importance of issues including climate change, trade, supply chains and the pandemic, Russian forces' invasion of Ukraine remained a key focus for Biden — who noted the world was "navigating a dark hour in our shared history," per pool reports.

What he's saying: "This is more than just a European issue," said Biden alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who's refused to condemn or sanction its longtime military partner Russia. "It's a global issue."

  • "What Russia's doing now, it appears to me that Putin is trying to extinguish a culture," Biden added. "As long as Russia continues this war we are going to be partners and lead a global response."

Why it matters: Russian forces' assault on Ukraine has been viewed by several of Asia's larger powers as a key global moment to show in a powerful response to Moscow that Beijing should not attempt to take contested territory via military action, AP notes.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida responded to Biden's comments on Ukraine at the quad summit, saying: "We cannot let the same thing happen in the Indo-Pacific region."

The big picture: Biden and Kishida agreed in Tokyo on Monday to work more closely together to counter what they described in a joint statement as "China's increasingly coercive behavior that runs counter to international law."

  • Biden vowed Monday the U.S. military would defend Taiwan if Chinese forces attacked the self-governing island. The White House said this didn't reflect a shift from U.S. policy recognizing that Beijing regards Taipei as part of "one China" while also opposing any change to Taiwan's democratic status by force.

Between the lines: Elevating the "Quad" countries is a key aspect of Biden's strategy for competing with the Chinese government, per Axios' Dave Lawler.

  • The governments of the U.S., Australia, India and Japan have all clashed with Beijing in recent years, making them increasingly willing to cooperate in a forum that Beijing rejects as an anti-China bloc.

Worth noting: Kishida opened the meeting by welcoming Australia's new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, whose Labor Party won majority control of Parliament in the country's federal election over the weekend.

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