Biden walks back comments on Taiwan
From left, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the Japan-U.S.-Australia-India Fellowship Founding Celebration event in Tokyo Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool Photo via AP) more >
U.S. President Biden and other leaders of the “Quad” strategic group with India, Australia and Japan issued a carefully worded warning Tuesday to China, which has triggered unease in recent years by building military bases on disputed islands in the South China Sea.
The leaders expressed collective opposition to “coercive, provocative or unilateral actions” that would change the status quo in the Indo-Pacific.
The Quad showed unity one day after Mr. Biden made global headlines by saying bluntly that the U.S. will intervene militarily if China attempts to invade Taiwan. The White House has since walked back the statement.
The summit in Tokyo represents the diplomatic centerpiece of Mr. Biden’s weeklong visit to Asia.
China’s military muscle-flexing, North Korea’s increasingly provocative missile tests and Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine have loomed over the gathering of the region’s four most powerful democracies. Successive U.S. administrations have sought to rally the Quad against the authoritarianism and aggression emanating from Beijing, Moscow and Pyongyang.
Mr. Biden, who ended his Asia trip after the summit, attempted to seize on the gathering as a chance to show solidarity.
The U.S., India, Australia and Japan are navigating “a dark hour in our shared history” stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Biden said at the opening of the summit. He called on other Quad leaders to work more cohesively to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression.
“This is more than just a European issue,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s a global issue.”
A joint statement at the close of the summit was notably less explicit. Although the Quad openly condemned “North Korea’s destabilizing ballistic missile development and launches,” it did not specifically mention Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The leaders said only that they had “discussed our respective responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the ongoing tragic humanitarian crisis, and assessed its implications for the Indo-Pacific.”
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