US President Joe Biden had a “constructive conversation” with Quad leaders amid the rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine, the White House said on Thursday. The Quad leaders — US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — convened a virtual meeting on Wednesday where they prominently discussed Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the eastern European nation.
“The President felt it was a constructive conversation,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference. The Quad leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and agreed to meet in person in Tokyo later this year,” the White House said in a press release.
“I met with my fellow Quad leaders Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio about Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine and our commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity around the world, including in the Indo-Pacific,” Biden said in a tweet after the meeting.
Biden suggested that members of the respective national security teams should also follow up after the meeting of the four heads of state, Psaki said. “He (Biden) asked members of their national security team to follow up from there,” Psaki told reporters.
In November 2017, the US, Australia, India and Japan gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the four-nation Quad grouping to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amid China’s growing military presence in the strategic region.