Quad leaders define the Indo-Pacific century

TOKYO – “Namaste. Good morning. Konnichiwa. And from Australia, g’day.” So spoke Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison from Sydney, a short while after midnight Saturday, as he joined via videoconference the first-ever leaders’ meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

“It’s not yet dawn” Down Under, he said, “but we join together as Quad leaders of nations to welcome what I think will be a new dawn in the Indo-Pacific.”

It was a fitting opening to what many believe to be the core policymaking platform for the Indo-Pacific region. But while the unspoken glue of the Quad is unquestionably the need for a vehicle to face the rise of China, the Biden administration, which arranged the summit, made efforts to pad the agenda so as to dilute the “anti-China” flavor.

The leaders took on a range of issues beyond security, including climate change, the pandemic and future technology standards.

They agreed to aim for an in-person gathering by the end of the year. Japan’s Suga seemed eager for a “Quad Plus,” proposing to work with such countries as ASEAN members to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific. (NIKKEI)