Next week’s summit of the Quad leaders of the US, India, Australia and Japan in Sydney has been canceled following US President Joe Biden. withdrew from his visitAustralia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday that talks could continue as the leaders visit Japan.
On May 24 in Albany, Biden was scheduled to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Kishita Fumio for an informal security dialogue meeting, widely seen as a counter to China’s aggressive posture in the region.
Biden also belatedly canceled a visit to Papua New Guinea as the United States seeks to strengthen its security ties in the Pacific amid growing competition with Beijing.
But Washington’s messy domestic politics have dampened what would have been a remarkable visit to Asia by a US president.
Biden had planned to travel to Sydney for the summit and a meeting in Papua New Guinea as part of a week-long Asian tour that began in Hiroshima, Japan, for the Group of Seven (G7) leaders’ summit. with Pacific Island leaders.
Biden was scheduled to travel to Japan beginning Wednesday, but he canceled an additional leg of the trip due to ongoing debt ceiling negotiations in Washington, the White House confirmed Tuesday.
Quad leaders will instead hold discussions in Japan, where all four leaders will be over the weekend, Albanese said Wednesday, adding that no time had been confirmed.
“The Quad is an important organization and we want to make sure that happens at the leadership level and we will have that discussion over the weekend,” the Australian leader said.
It will be the third in-person gathering of leaders for the Quad, known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which was established 15 years ago and has grown in importance in recent years.
According to a statement issued by the White House last month, the leaders are expected to discuss deepening their cooperation on a range of issues, from critical and emerging technologies to climate change and maritime domain awareness.
Albanese said other Quad leaders could still arrive in Sydney next week and discussions were ongoing.
The Australian leader hinted at Biden’s frustration that events on Capitol Hill were forcing his hand.
Biden and Albanese spoke by phone early Wednesday, when Biden expressed his disappointment in “some of the actions of certain members of Congress and the United States Senate.”
“It’s not clearly in the interests of the people of the United States, but it’s because the United States has an important role as the world’s largest economy. It also has implications for the global economy, holding the debt ceiling that they’re involved in,” Albanese said.
Biden is meeting with lawmakers in Washington. Congress has been unable to reach an agreement on raising the country’s debt ceiling.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday that a default would lead to a stimulus. Global economic downturnIt “risks undermining America’s global economic leadership” and raises questions about America’s ability to protect its national security interests.
Both the Quad meeting and Biden’s Monday stop in the Papua New Guinea capital of Port Moresby were seen by observers as opportunities to strengthen US partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region.
As China increasingly asserts its territorial claims in territorial waters, expands its naval capabilities and militarizes islands in the South China Sea, the region has become increasingly important to Washington.
Beijing has also stepped up military threats to Taiwan, a self-governing democratic island that China’s ruling Communist Party claims as its territory. Last month, Beijing launched military exercises across the island in response to a visit between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.
In Port Moresby, Biden was scheduled to meet with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marab and other leaders of the region’s Pacific Island Forum.
The visit, widely seen as a potential economic boon by the Marab government, is the latest step by the US to re-engage in the South Pacific – a strategically important region largely overlooked by Washington since the end of the Cold War. War.
China has increased its own diplomatic outreach in the region in recent years and has made significant inroads with some Pacific island governments, including signing a bilateral defense agreement with the Solomon Islands last year.
Biden’s visit to Port Moresby would have been the first by a sitting US president and would coincide with talks on a defense cooperation agreement between the two countries.
Derek Grossman, a senior security analyst at the RAND Corporation think tank in the US, said the impact of canceling the Quad meeting in Sydney was “negligible” because the group already had “good momentum” from previous meetings.
However, Monday’s cancellation of a visit to Papua New Guinea could have more far-reaching consequences for US policy on the Pacific islands, he said.
“The United States has done a good job of raising its game in the region, but this missed (Papua New Guinea) visit would be evidence of the opposite — essentially that Washington has long been an unreliable partner,” he said.
“This feeds directly into Beijing’s narrative and can strengthen its hand,” he said.