Japan has agreed to host a meeting of the QUAD group next year, informed White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell on Friday, 19 November. The four-nation group called the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) comprises the US, Australia, India and Japan. If the QUAD summit is realised, it will be the second in-person meeting of the group and it will also be the first time for Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, who took office in October, to attend such a gathering.
Speaking at an event of the US Institute of Peace, Campbell did not explain in detail the type of QUAD meeting to be hosted by Japan next year. However, Kyodo News reported that it could be held as early as next spring. Campbell reportedly said that the US will work with Japan on timing and to make sure that the group follows through on previous commitments.
Further, the White House official also went on to say that India is a “critical and crucial” member of the QUAD and that the US is determined to build relations with New Delhi. Cambell said, “I am very bullish about the future with India,” adding that he believes that India is a “critical and crucial member” of the grouping. He even said that India will be a key fulcrum player on the global stage in the 21st century and it will top the list of critical countries that will define the future of Asia.
“Japan has agreed to host the next Quad summit in 2022,” he said, “There, the four countries will discuss ways to further deepen cooperation.”
“India, along with Vietnam and a few others, tops the list of critical countries that will define the future of Asia. I believe that whoever is in office in Washington, Democrat or Republican, will do what’s necessary to help build that relationship,” Campbell asserted.
China’s growing influence in Indo-Pacific
It is to mention that the QUAD grouping is a strategic dialogue between four countries to counter China militarily and diplomatically in the South China Sea. While speaking at the event, Campbell indicated that Beijing seems to be feeling some pressure from the US administration of President Joe Biden’s ongoing efforts to strengthen relations with its allies. He said that the US’ expanded cooperation with partners is causing China “heartburn”.
However, Campbell even warned of Beijing’s attempt to further increase its economic influence in the region, citing the seriousness of its bid to join a Pacific free trade agreement initially known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which the US pulled out in 2017. According to Kyodo News, China is among the economies applying to join the now called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. China is “interested in deep discussions about what it would take to join,” he said.