| 9 December 2023, Saturday |

Australia cancels Quad meeting in Sydney after Biden postponement

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday that a Quad meeting in Sydney next week will not go place without US President Joe Biden, who canceled his participation due to debt limit talks in Washington.

Albanese stated that the presidents of Australia, the United States, India, and Japan will instead meet this weekend at the G7 in Japan, after Biden postponed a trip to Sydney on the second part of his planned Asia tour, which was also to include a visit to Papua New Guinea.

“The Quad leaders meeting will not be going ahead in Sydney next week. We, though will be having that discussion between Quad leaders in Japan,” Albanese told a news conference.

A bilateral programme in Sydney with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could still go ahead next week, Albanese said.

Albanese did not comment on whether Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida would still visit Sydney next week. Nikkei reported on Wednesday he would not be travelling.

The Quad is an informal group that promotes an open Indo-Pacific. Beijing sees it as an attempt to push back against its growing influence in the region.

Asia Society Policy Institute senior fellow Richard Maude said the cancellation of Biden’s visit to Papua New Guinea, which would have been the first visit by an American president to an independent Pacific islands nation, could set back Washington’s battle for influence with Beijing in the region.

“The mantra in the region is all about turning up. Turning up is half the battle. China turns up all the time, and so the optics aren’t great,” Maude, a former Australian intelligence chief, told a panel discussion on the Quad on Wednesday.

India and Australia are not part of the G7 group of seven rich nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – but have been invited to attend the summit in Japan.

  • Reuters