Facing Beijing, “Quad” countries promise massive investment in Asia-Pacific

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Tuesday that his country and three other “Quad” members – the United States, India and Australia – plan to invest at least 50 billion dollars (about 47 billion euros) in five years in infrastructure projects. in Asia-Pacific. Meeting at the summit in Tokyo, the four countries intend to consider China’s growing influence in the region.

To match China, Japan, the United States, India and Australia who plan to invest at least 50 billion dollars (about 47 billion euros) in five years in infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Tuesday 24 May. .

“In the infrastructure sector, we announced that we aim to invest more than $50 billion over the next five years to support projects in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Fumio Kishida after a summit in Tokyo. Quadruple Alliance.

The summit comes as Beijing strengthens its military capabilities and increases drills and maneuvers near disputed territory, including Taiwan.

“China is teasing danger,” US President Joe Biden warned on Monday, repeating that the United States was prepared to use its military means if it attacked the autonomous island.

Even if the Biden administration immediately tried to stifle these comments, Beijing reacted strongly by calling for its “sovereignty” and judging that the United States was playing “with fire”.

This Quad Summit is about “democracy versus autocracy, and we have to make sure that we fulfill it,” Joe Biden said Tuesday morning.

Japan has also recently tightened its language on its neighbors, warning China against a “unilateral change of the status quo by force”.

Countries in the region are also concerned about Beijing’s efforts to forge alliances with Pacific nations. After the security deal was concluded last month with the Solomon Islands, China, according to some media outlets, wanted to expand it to other countries: Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati.

Disagreement with India

According to a US official, the four countries are expected to agree on Tuesday on a common system for tracking regional maritime traffic, including “in territorial waters and exclusive economic zones”. The data collected will be shared with “various partners” to help monitor activities such as illegal fishing, he told reporters.

Within hours, Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and new Australian leader Anthony Albanese will try to turn their informal alliance into a united bloc capable of confronting China.

But the unit is complicated by disagreements with India, the only member of the Quad that has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even increasing imports of Russian oil despite criticism.

In contrast, Joe Biden and his allies draw parallels between a war led by Moscow and Beijing’s territorial ambitions, arguing that sanctions against Russia also serve as a deterrent to other countries seduced by military action.

Joe Biden, who will also have bilateral talks with Narendra Modi and Anthony Albanese, “is well aware that India has its own history, its own way of looking at things,” the American official said. The question is how these differences are managed, he added, believing that Joe Biden “is of the opinion that we should have honest and direct discussions”.

“The Quad gives the impression of being focused on ways to thwart China. But India will probably take a neutral position,” Kazuhiro Maeshima, professor of American politics at Sophia University, told AFP in Tokyo.

“We’re not here to joke”

Previous Quad joint statements have been limited to advocating a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and warnings against “unilateral” action, without citing Beijing.

The American president underscored at the opening of the summit the growing importance of the Quad, remembering that “in a short time, we have shown that it is not just a fad. We are not here to joke”, he said.

The Quad was also a diplomatic baptism of fire for Australia’s new Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, 59, who arrived in Tokyo just hours after his inauguration.

Joe Biden’s Asia tour, which begins with a three-day visit to South Korea, is also dominated by the unpredictable possibility that North Korea will fire a new missile or conduct a nuclear test.

These fears have not materialized so far, but Washington says it is “ready” for this eventuality, as talks have stalled since the collapse of a 2019 summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then US President Donald Trump.

With AFP

Serena Hoyles

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