United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that Quad is "not just a passing fad but it means business," asserting that the four leaders of the grouping are here to get things done for the strategic Indo-Pacific region and that he is proud of what they are building together.
Addressing the second in-person meeting between Quad leaders, Biden attacked Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, saying Moscow is trying to extinguish a culture.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australia's newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attended the second in-person meeting of Quad leaders in Tokyo during which they exchanged views about developments in the Indo-Pacific region and global issues of mutual interest.
Biden welcomed Prime Minister Modi at the Summit and said “it is wonderful to see you again in person”.
"We share the same goal of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific that will deliver greater prosperity and greater opportunity for all of our children. I am looking forward to continuing to work with all of you and to strengthen economic cooperation to deliver inclusive growth and shared prosperity," Biden said in his opening remarks.
“We've shown that Quad is not just a passing fad, we mean business. We're here to get things done for the region, and I'm proud of what we're building together and I look forward to our vital partnership flourishing and for many years to come,” Biden said.
He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is just trying to extinguish a culture. This is more than a European issue. It is a global issue.
On the global food security issue in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which is one of the major exporters of wheat, the US President said that the global food crisis may worsen by Russia blocking Ukraine from exporting its grains.
“As long as Russia continues war against Ukraine, the US will work with its partners,” Biden vowed.
He also spoke about the importance of the Quad grouping in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, partnering on supply chains among others. Much of his remarks focused on the war in Ukraine.
"We are navigating a dark hour in our shared history.
"Russia's brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe. And innocent civilians are put into the streets and millions of refugees are internally displaced as well as exiled," Biden said.
He reminded the world that the situation in Ukraine is more than just a European issue.
"It's a global issue. The fact is that when you turn on the television and see what Russia's doing now, it appears to me that Putin is trying to extinguish a culture. He is not trying to hit military targets anymore, he is taking out every school, every culture, every natural history museum," the US President added.
Addressing the Quad summit, newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Albanese said that his government is committed to working with the Quad countries.
“My government gives priority to building a more resilient Indo-Pacific region through economic, cyber, energy, health and environmental security,” Albanese, who was sworn in as Australia's 31st Prime Minister on Monday, said.
He said that Australia will host the next Quad summit in 2023.
“Today I had the pleasure of meeting with PM Kishida @JPN_PMO, @POTUS and @narendramodi at the Quad Summit in Tokyo. We affirmed our shared commitment to the Quad, and to a free, open and resilient Indo-Pacific. I look forward to hosting Quad Leaders in Australia in 2023," the Australian Prime Minister said.
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, who received all the Quad leaders ahead of the Summit here, said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine challenges the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.
“We should never ever allow a similar incident to happen in the Indo-Pacific region," he said.
Japan, along with its allies including the US, has been one of the world's most outspoken critics of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Prime Minister Kishida has repeatedly condemned Russia's war crimes in Ukraine.
The summit is taking place under the shadow of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
It is also taking place at a time when the relations between China and the Quad member countries have become tense, with Beijing increasingly challenging democratic values and resorting to coercive trade practices.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
On the eve of the summit, Biden on Monday launched the ambitious Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), which is an initiative aimed at deeper cooperation among like-minded countries in areas such as clean energy, supply-chain resilience and digital trade.
The rollout of the IPEF is expected to send across a signal that the US is focused on pushing forward a strong economic policy for the region to counter China's aggressive strategy on trade in the region.
In March last year, President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format that was followed by an in-person summit in Washington in September. The Quad leaders also held a virtual meeting in March.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amidst China's growing military presence in the strategic region.