The US government is holding a quadripartite summit with Australia, India and Japan, in an effort to cement alliances and counter China’s "aggression".
After more than a decade of low level "Quad" meetings, the leaders of the four states are coming together Friday in a virtual summit to build alliances as US concerns grow over a rising China.
However, Ned Price, spokesman of the US Department of State, said that the Quad was not focused “on any single issue, to include China”, before adding that the Quad is about the states’ shared “economic” and “security” interests.
In contrast, China's state-run Global Times newspaper criticized the Quad summit as a US plot against Beijing, and wrote that India should have kept its distance.
Friday's four-way summit comes on the heels of disputes that the four states have had with China, considering the Indian-Chinese deadly clash in the Himalayas, Beijing’s alleged activities near islands administered by Japan, and Chinese sanctions on Australian products following a series of disputes.
The White House cast China as the top challenger in strategic guidance released earlier this month, saying that the US would help stand up to Beijing's "aggression" by "bolstering and defending our unparalleled network of allies and partners".
The US president is set to have a face-to-face summit with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to mark him as the first foreign leader that President Joe Biden meets with since he took office in January.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloy Austin also plan to visit to Japan and South Korea, followed by India next week.
Apart from these meetings, Blinken and national security advisor Jake Sullivan are set to have a “difficult” meeting with top Chinese authorities in Alaska later next week to discuss their differences on trade and human rights.
The Chinese government has warned the US to stop interfering in its internal affairs, including Hong Kong, ahead of the Alaska meeting.
Zhao Lijian, deputy director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said his government hopes the meeting can focus on cooperation.
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