Saturday, 16 October 2021 08:20 GMT

Quad leaders press for free Indo-Pacific, with wary eye on China


(MENAFN- Trend News Agency ) Leaders of the United States, Japan, India and Australia vowed to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific region "undaunted by coercion" at their first in-person summit, which presented a united front amid shared concerns about China, Trend reports citing Xinhua .

The two-hour meeting at the White House of the Quad, as the grouping of four major democracies is called, will be watched closely in Beijing, which criticized the group as "doomed to fail." Trend reports citing Reuters .

" We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity of states," U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a joint statement after the talks.

While China was not mentioned in the public remarks by the four leaders or in the lengthy joint statement and a factsheet issued afterwards, Beijing was clearly top of mind.

Their statement made frequent mention of the leaders' insistence on rules-based behavior in a region where China has been trying to flex its muscles.

"Together, we recommit to promoting the free, open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion, to bolster security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond," they said.

The Quad leaders also voiced support for small island states, especially those in the Pacific, in order to enhance their economic and environmental resilience.

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