In Tokyo, the Quartet warned against the use of force in the Asia-Pacific region


From left to right, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, US President Joe Biden, as well as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Quartet summit, in Tokyo, May 24, 2022 (AFP/SAUL LOEB)

The leaders of the United States, Japan, Australia and India warned in Tokyo on Tuesday against “forcibly changing the status quo,” worried about China’s increasing military activity and influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

At the end of their summit in the Japanese capital, the four countries appeared to have combined in an informal alliance called the “Quartet” that contrasted Beijing’s territorial ambitions with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which “destabilises the principles of international fundamental principles.” Request”.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned at a press conference that “any change of status quo by force” will not “be tolerated anywhere, particularly” in the Asia-Pacific region.

After the summit, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi announced that Chinese and Russian bombers flew together near Japan on Tuesday, considering it a provocation by Beijing and Moscow against the Quartet.

“While the international community is responding to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the fact that China has taken such a measure in cooperation with Russia… is worrying. This cannot be underestimated,” said Mr. Keshi.

US President Joe Biden said on Monday that the United States would be prepared to use its military means in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

But he made clear on Tuesday that “strategic uncertainty” had not changed. This American doctrine is to diplomatically recognize only mainland China with the obligation to give Taiwan the military means to defend itself in the event of an invasion.

“I want to remind the American side that no power in the world, including the United States, can prevent the Chinese people from achieving complete national unity,” said Wang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.

He added that if Washington “continues to insist on the wrong path, it will not only have irreparable consequences for Sino-US relations, but also have an intolerable cost to the United States.”

– China was never mentioned, but it is everywhere –

Quartet members regularly worry about military exercises and China’s attempts to “chomp” around the Pacific islands.

In their statement on Tuesday, Mr. Biden and Kishida, along with new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Narendra Modi of India, specifically referred to the “militarization” of disputed areas, the “dangerous use of Coast Guard vessels and naval militias and efforts to disrupt the marine resource-exploitation activities of other nations.” Activities that China accuses of carrying out in the region.

They also unveiled a marine monitoring program aimed at “promoting stability and prosperity in our seas and oceans.”

US President Joe Biden (2ndG), Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (2ndD), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (L) during a four-way summit, in Tokyo on May 24, 2022 (AFP/SAUL LOEB) )

US President Joe Biden (2ndG), Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (2ndD), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (L) during a four-way summit, in Tokyo on May 24, 2022 (AFP/SAUL LOEB) )

But their statements avoided any explicit mention of China or Russia, while the unity of the Quartet is complicated by differences with India, the only member that has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has even increased its imports of Russian oil despite criticism.

But Mr. Biden stressed earlier that this summit was the summit of “democracies against authoritarian regimes.”

He added that the US strategy aims to make the Asia-Pacific region “free, open, connected, secure and resilient. Russia’s attack on Ukraine only underscores the importance of these goals and basic principles of the international order.”

– Investments in Asia Pacific –

Countries in the region are also concerned about Beijing’s efforts to forge alliances with smaller countries in the Pacific. After a security agreement concluded last month with the Solomon Islands, China, according to some media, may want to extend it to other countries: Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati.

Quartet members also announced on Tuesday that they want to invest at least $50 billion (about €47 billion) in infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region over the next five years.

“We are committed to working closely with our partners and the region to stimulate public and private investment,” the four leaders said in their joint statement.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (L), US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) at the opening of the Quartet summit in Tokyo on May 24, 2022 (AFP/STR)

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (L), US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) at the opening of the Quartet summit in Tokyo on May 24, 2022 (AFP/STR)

Joe Biden departed Tuesday at the end of the day for Washington, completing his Asian tour that began with his stay in South Korea where the unpredictable North Korea had the potential to launch a new missile or conduct a nuclear test.

That fear has yet to materialize, but Washington has said it is “prepared” for the possibility, as talks have stalled since the failed summit in 2019 between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

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