SYDNEY, May 17 (Reuters) – Next week’s Quad summit in Sydney will not take place without U.S. President Joe Biden, who postponed his trip due to debt ceiling talks in Washington, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday.
Albanese said the leaders of Australia, the United States, India and Japan would meet this weekend at the G7 in Japan, after Biden canceled a trip to Sydney on the second leg of his upcoming Asia trip, which included a visit. to Papua New Guinea.
“There will be no meeting of the Quad leaders in Sydney next week. We will have that discussion among the Quad leaders in Japan,” Albanese told a press conference.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sydney will continue next week, Albanese said in an interview on local radio.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pulled out of his trip after Biden’s cancellation, Albanese added.
The Quad is an informal group promoting an open Indo-Pacific region. Beijing sees it as an attempt to push back against its growing influence in the region.
Richard Maude, a senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute, said the cancellation of Biden’s visit to Papua New Guinea, which would have been the first visit by a US president to an independent Pacific island nation, could stem Washington’s battle for influence with Beijing in the region.
“The mantra in the region is all about return. Return is half the battle. China is always changing, so the optics are not great,” Maude, a former Australian intelligence chief, told a Quad panel discussion on Wednesday.
India and Australia are not part of the G7 group of seven rich nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US – but have been invited to attend the summit in Japan.
Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Chris Rees
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