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Quad partnership 'elevated'; US will defend allies against attack, says Biden

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the Quad alliance of India, the US, Japan and Australia has been "elevated" and declared that Washington will stand up for allies and friends

Arul Louis Sep 21, 2021
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US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the Quad alliance of India, the US, Japan and Australia has been "elevated" and declared that Washington will stand up for allies and friends.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly Summit, Biden said, “We elevated the Quad partnership among Australia, India, Japan and the United States to take on challenges ranging from health security to climate to emerging technologies, engaging with regional institutions.”

Biden's statement came ahead of his first Quad summit on Friday with prime ministers Narendra Modi of India, Yoshihide Suga of Japan and Scott Morrison of Australia.

“Make no mistake, the United States will continue to defend ourselves, our allies and our interests against attack, including terrorist threat,” he declared.

He also made a resolute commitment to fighting terrorism.

“We know the bitter string of terrorism. The bitter sting of terrorism is real,” Biden said and referred to the terrorist attack in Afghanistan last month that killed “13 American heroes and almost 200 innocent Afghan civilians.”

“Those who commit acts of terrorism against this will continue to find a determined enemy in the United States,” he said.

He offered US cooperation to partners on emerging technologies and scientific breakthroughs.

“As new technologies continue to evolve, we'll work together with our democratic partners to ensure that new advances in areas of biotechnology, quantum computing, 5G (telecommunications), artificial intelligence and more are used to lift people up to solve problems.”

In a message to China without mentioning it by name, he said that the US “will stand up for our allies and our friends, and oppose attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker ones and bring changes to territory by force, economic coercion, technical exploitation or misinformation.”

At the same time, he said, “We are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.”

“The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up to pursue peaceful resolution of shared challenge even if we have intense disagreement in other areas, because we'll all suffer the consequences of our failure to come together,” he said.

Biden, who has made fighting climate change a pillar of his domestic and foreign policies, echoed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's warning about imminent danger from global warming, which he called “Code Red.”

He said that every nation has to bring “their highest possible ambitions” for fighting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the table at the UN climate change conference in November in Glasgow.”

The US has set an ambitious new goal under the Paris Agreement on climate change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent to 52 per cent below the 2005 levels by 2030 and a clean energy economy with net zero emissions by 2050, he said.

Biden came to the UN facing a credibility gap with US allies and partners after the disastrous troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the dispute with France over the plan to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia undercutting a major defence deal between Paris and Canberra.

France has withdrawn its envoy from Washington and President Emmanuel Macron cancelled his US speech that was scheduled for Tuesday.

In a bid to reassure European allies, he said, “I prioritise rebuilding our alliance, revitalising our partnership and recognising they are central and essential to America's enduring security and prosperity.”

“We have reaffirmed our sacred NATO Alliance,” he said, adding. “We're working with our allies for the new strategic concept that will help our alliance better take on evolving threats of today and tomorrow.”

He did not dwell on the Afghanistan fiasco beyond saying that “we have ended 20 years of conflict” there “and as we close this period of relentless war, we're opening a new era of relentless diplomacy, of using the power of our development aid, invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world.”

He said that the US was committed to providing the world with COVID-19 vaccines and said Washington would make more commitments in the fight against the pandemic at a summit on Wednesday.

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