Quad leaders discuss Russia, China tensions at Tokyo summit
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.