US, India, Japan and Australia plot vaccine drive for Indo-Pacific, seek to counter China’s influence, and plan an in-person summit.
KIMBERLY HALKETT: A virtual meeting with his Indian, Australian, and Japanese counterparts, a group also known as the Quad. US President Joe Biden told the group--
JOE BIDEN: A free and open Indo-Pacific is essential to each of our futures.
KIMBERLY HALKETT: The Quad was formed to cope with the devastation following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. But now it's set its sights on a new threat, the rising military and economic might of China. The Quad is concerned about China's growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
MARK KIMMITT: The United States certainly sees this alliance to stop the growing influence of China, if not contain China, is not dissimilar to the NATO organization, which was started in 1947 to stop the increasing influence and military threat that was coming from the Soviet Union.
KIMBERLY HALKETT: As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in China, the group also announcing on Friday a new initiative to manufacture and produce US vaccines in India, financed by Japan and the United States and supported by Australia.
JAKE SULLIVAN: The Quad committed to delivering up to 1 billion doses to ASEAN, the Indo-Pacific, and beyond by the end of 2022.
KIMBERLY HALKETT: Climate change is the other big challenge. The group must confront how to push global nations to live up to the commitments made in the Paris Climate Agreement. Overall, China emits almost double the CO2 of the United States. But per capita, the US takes the lead. China responded to the meeting of the Quad, saying exchanges between governments should be to create understanding, not target third parties.
The meeting of the quad comes just days before the US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor will meet with their Chinese counterparts in Alaska. That meeting is expected to be more forceful, as the United States confronts China over issues of economics, security, and human rights. Kimberly Halkett, Al Jazeera, the White House.