Japan PM Suga to visit US for ‘Quad’ summit

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Yoshihide Suga, Joe Biden
This combination photo, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaking in Tokyo on Dec. 4, 2020 and U.S. President Joe Biden speaking at the White House in Washington on March 11, 2021. Japan's government announced Friday, March 12, 2021 that Suga will travel to Washington next month for his first face-to-face summit with Biden after he and his entourage complete their COVID-19 vaccinations. (AP Photo, File)

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will visit Washington later this month to attend the first face-to-face leaders summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

Suga, U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi aim to strengthen the four-way partnership in the Indo-Pacific region in response to China’s growing clout, Nikkei Asia reported.

Meanwhile, the Japanese PM on Wednesday kicked off preparations to participate in the Quad summit. Suga will not run in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership election in late September, meaning that he will step down as prime minister in a few weeks. But he has decided to attend the meeting in Washington in response to Biden’s invitation, reported Nikkei Asia.

Both the leaders are also expected to meet on the sidelines of the Quad summit to affirm their cooperation toward peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, echoing their bilateral meeting in April.

The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometer-wide strait separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia. The strait is in international waters, however, China claims Taiwan as its own territory.

Quad leaders had agreed at their virtual summit in March to meet in person by the end of the year. Though they had stopped short of criticising China by name in their joint statement from that event, they had pledged to “meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas,” reported Nikkei Asia.

The leaders had also agreed to set up expert working groups on coronavirus vaccines, critical and emerging technologies, and climate change. In Washington, they are expected to discuss how to better distribute vaccines to developing economies to counter Chinese vaccine diplomacy. (ANI)