• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Biden administration awkwardly promotes 'Quad' summit after UK-Australia security alliance flap

·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The White House is trying to downplay the relevance of China in a key meeting of top U.S. Indo-Pacific partners after the bungled rollout of a security alliance with the United Kingdom and Australia left Beijing steaming.

President Joe Biden on Friday will host his first nonvirtual Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known as the Quad summit, between Prime Ministers Scott Morrison of Australia, Narendra Modi of India, and Yoshihide Suga of Japan. But a senior administration official insisted Friday's affair was "an informal gathering" that was not aimed at undermining China's influence in the region.

INDEPENDENTS WANT ACTION FROM BIDEN ON IMMIGRATION

"We are working together to build better lines of communication and strengthening cooperation and habits of cooperation amongst us," the official said. "The leaders are hopeful for an opportunity in an intimate setting to sit down and talk about issues of mutual interest and concern."

The White House's careful word choice follows a week of international furor with China and particularly France after the two countries objected to the United States forging another alliance with the U.K. to help Australia build nuclear-powered submarines. The partnership ostensibly counters China's aggression over disputed territory, but France lost a $60 billion contract with Australia to buy 12 diesel-electric submarines.

China, with whom the U.S. wants to strike a climate deal, condemned the U.S.-U.K.-Australia pact's "Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice." French President Emmanuel Macron avoided taking a phone call from Biden for days after recalling France's ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia.

A senior administration official reiterated the Quad was not a "security" alliance. Instead, the official pointed to the group's goal of combating climate change, investing in infrastructure, bolstering supply chains, shoring up cybersecurity, and delivering 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Indo-Pacific by 2022. But the source declined to provide an update on their COVID-19 goal until the public event, as countries such as Australia face internal pressure to vaccinate its own population.

"We will be announcing new working groups on space," the official said. "We will also announce a major fellowship that will bring students from India, from Japan, from Australia, and the United States, 100 in total, over the course of the next year and a half to study in elite universities in the United States in areas related to science and technology."

But the senior administration official was pressed during a background call with reporters on the relationship between the Quad and the awkwardly abbreviated "AUKUS" alliance, as well as the Quad's role in mitigating China's rise.

"This is not a military alliance. It's an informal grouping of democratic states that are all committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific," the official said.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Biden will also hold his first in-person meeting with Modi in the Oval Office prior to the Quad summit. Suga, Japan's outgoing prime minister, will similarly have sideline events with the president and first lady Jill Biden after she worked closely with Suga before and during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Joe Biden spoke with Morrison earlier this week after he addressed the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the height of tensions with France.

Washington Examiner Videos

Tags: News, Biden, Biden Administration, Joe Biden, White House

Original Author: Naomi Lim

Original Location: Biden administration awkwardly promotes 'Quad' summit after UK-Australia security alliance flap

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting