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Since the last online meeting of Quad leaders in March, officials have been working on the details of a vaccine deal that would deliver as many as a billion doses across the region.
Announcements are also expected in emission reduction technologies, space collaboration, cybersecurity, science student scholarships and secure semiconductor supply chains.
However, the elephant in the room will be what officials describe as the “deteriorating strategic environment” – code for China’s massive military build-up and bending its influence in the region.
At the beginning of the meeting, Morrison said the liberal democracies of Australia, the US, India and Japan believe in a world order that promotes freedom.
“So we stand here together in the Indo-Pacific region, a region that we always want to be free from coercion, where the sovereign rights of all nations are respected and where disputes are settled peacefully in accordance with international law,” he said. he.
“We come together in collective power with mutual respect, transparently and, most importantly, as one.”
Mr Biden is seeking to redirect US foreign policy towards the Indo-Pacific in light of China’s coercive economic practices and troubling military maneuvering in the region.
Ahead of the summit, the Japanese and Indian governments welcomed a recent announcement that the US, as part of the AUKUS alliance with Britain and Australia, would equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
It is a move that will allow Australia to conduct longer patrols and give it an edge over the Chinese navy.
Professor Han Hua of Peking University wrote in an op-ed for the China Daily that the Quad and AUKUS would destabilize the region.
“Security groups or alliances may have served some purpose during the Cold War era, but they are of no use in today’s globalized world where no single problem can be solved by one country or security group alone,” he wrote.
“Collaboration, rather than strategic competition, is the only way countries can meet the challenges facing the world, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said security groups would inevitably prompt “rival” groups to engage in an arms race to ensure their survival and security.
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