Quad leaders to strengthen focus in Indo-Pacific region Sep 26, 2021 0 0 12345 dpa Washington The leaders of the US, Australia, India and Japan plan to expand their engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, they said at a meeting of the four-way alliance known as the Quad at the White House on Friday.While no direct mention was made of China, all are concerned about Chinese trade practices and expansionism in the region.“When we met six months ago, we made concrete commitments to advance our shared and positive agenda for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Biden said at the outset of the meeting.“Today, I am proud to say that we’re making excellent progress,” he said.“Our vaccine initiative is on track to produce an additional 1 billion doses of vaccine in India to boost global supply. We’re taking action on climate change with new partnership toward zero emissions, shipping, and today, we’re also launching a new quad fellowship for students from each of our quad countries,” he said.“We are liberal democracies,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “And we believe in a free and open Indo-Pacific, because we know that’s what delivers a strong, stable, and prosperous region.” He said the meeting sought to show that democracies could “get things done.” He also called for cooperation to realize “a free and open international order based on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific.” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “confident that our cooperation and record will ensure prosperity, and peace in the Indo-Pacific, and in the world.” Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga praised the “strong solidarity” of the group.The White House said the gathering was the first in-person meeting of the leaders of these four countries in this format, although Biden did host an online meeting of the same group earlier in the year.The meeting was part of a push by the US government to renew and strengthen international alliances. This particular group of countries began working together after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, though the four leaders only got together for a meeting under the auspices of the Quad in March.Back then, the four men said one of their main priorities would be to boost India’s capacity to produce coronavirus vaccines.Ahead of the meeting, a senior US official said the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate would also be major topics on Friday.Biden has been clear since taking office that he wants to make the Indo-Pacific region a US priority, to counterbalance the spread of Chinese strength in the region. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in West Bank settlement clashes Sep 26, 2021 0 0 At least 15 killed by suicide bomb attack in Somalia Sep 26, 2021 0 0 More than 350,000 dead in a decade of war in Syria: UN Sep 26, 2021 0 0 Singapore tightens curbs after third consecutive daily virus record Bangkok: Singapore’s Health Ministry reported a record number of coronavirus cases for the third consecutive day on Friday, along with three related deaths, prompting the government to tighten restrictions. The .. Philippines to lose over $789 billion in 40 years due to coronavirus Manila: The Philippines’ economic losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns are estimated to be more than 40 trillion pesos ($789 billion) in the next 40 years, the country’s chief economist said on Saturday. .. One dead, nine missing in sea accidents in Philippines Manila: One passenger ship crew member drowned while nine fishermen were missing in two separate sea accidents in the Philippines, the coast guard said Saturday. The crew member of MV Lite Ferry 3 was trapped inside the ..