Biden cancels Quad summit over debt ceiling row, G7 meeting still on
Quad leaders will instead meet on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Japan later this week with China being the main subject on the agenda.
United States President Joe Biden will not be attending the Quad meeting in Sydney as the brawl with Republicans over the debt ceiling saw limited prospects for an agreement this week as the US Treasury June deadline looms.
Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that the four-party coalition meeting on May 24 was canceled, stating that it will not be held without the American President.
While Biden announced last week that he might not attend the upcoming G7 meeting in Japan if the issue is not resolved, stating that the debt ceiling "is the single most important thing on the agenda," it was later confirmed that he will be attending the summit held in Hiroshima on Wednesday.
“The Quad is an important body and we want to make sure that it occurs at leadership level and we’ll be having that discussion over the weekend,” Albanese said, noting that it was “appropriate that we talk."
The American President is expected to meet with Quad presidents on the sidelines of the G7 meeting instead, which is scheduled for three days starting Friday.
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A senior US official said on Wednesday that Biden's Japan trip will reveal a unified position of G7 leader on dealing with China while taking into consideration that different countries will manage the approach differently.
Attending the Hiroshima summit will show that the United States is able to support Kiev while also being strongly present in the Indo-Pacific region, the official told Reuters.
Asked whether a united stance on China can be expected from the group's leaders, the official replied, "While the G7 is a consensus-driven group, the hosts do play a big role in setting the agenda and the Japanese are very, very concerned with economic security issues writ large, including vis-a-vis China."
"I think that what you can expect is that G7 leaders will make clear that we’re all unified and united behind a common approach grounded in common values. And at the same time, that each G7 country is going to manage its own relationship with China, but that we’re all aligned around the principles that will guide all of our relationships," he added.
The anti-China chip restrictions will be one of the main subjects discussed in the meeting.
"There's a consensus on the need to ensure security of technology. I don't want to get ahead of the discussions in terms of what agreement there will be, but I think amongst the countries that are the most significant players on semiconductors, there's very broad agreement and a significant degree of consensus," he said.
"I think you should expect to see general agreement on principles to define the relationships with China coming out of this."
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Biden has also canceled a long-anticipated trip to Papua New Guinea as Washington hopes to resolve the debt ceiling issue before a US default.
Prime Minister Albanese has been invited to make a state visit to Washington later this year.
The Quad summit - formally Quadrilateral Security Dialogue consisting of the US, Australia, Japan, and India - comes as the United States is balancing political and security blocs, one of which is AUKUS, to corner China in the Indo-Pacific and South China Sea regions.
“President Biden emphasized the importance of the Quad,” Albanese said in a radio interview.
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“He was very disappointed at some of the actions of some members of Congress and the US Senate. We long ago passed the time where opposition parties tried to hold up supply in Australia, you might recall, you’re old enough like me to recall 1975. And ever since then, of course, we don’t have those supply issues. But that effectively is what you’ve got in the US at the moment," said the Prime Minister.
“And obviously the domestic priority for the president, understandably, is to play a role in resolving those issues,” he added.
The anti-China coalition, which was established in 2004, was dismantled in 2008 over Australian fears of upsetting Beijing and American declined interest. The assembly was later revived in 2017 during the former US President Donald Trump's administration as the American leader adopted a hostile foreign policy on China.
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