Taiwan eclipses Quad talks, Japan scrambles jets

TOKYO, May 24 (Reuters) – Japan has dispatched jets after Russian and Chinese warplanes approached its airspace during a visit by U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday, with Tokyo citing “serious concerns” over what he saw as a provocative move timed to coincide with the Quadruple Summit.

Taiwan and Russia issues loomed over the meeting in Tokyo of leaders of the Quad grouping of the United States, Japan, Australia and India, who underlined their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of a policy of more more assertive. China.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was not targeting any particular country.

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As the leaders met, Russian and Chinese warplanes conducted a 13-hour joint patrol in the area, which Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi called a likely provocation by Beijing and the government. Moscow. Read more

The patrol came after President Joe Biden angered China by declaring a day earlier that he would be prepared to use force to defend the democratic island of Taiwan. On Tuesday, he said there was no change in the US policy of “strategic ambiguity” in Taiwan.

“We think the fact that this action was taken at the Quad summit makes it more provocative than in the past,” Kishi said of the Chinese and Russian drills.

Japan sent jets and raised “serious concerns” with Russia and China through diplomatic channels, Kishi told a news conference after Biden left Tokyo.

The South Korean military also dispatched fighter jets, saying at least four Chinese and four Russian fighter jets entered its air defense zone. The patrols, the first since Russia invaded Ukraine, were part of an annual military exercise, the Chinese Defense Ministry said on its website. The two countries have conducted the exercises since 2019, but in the second half of the year.

The Quad Group leaders said in a joint statement released after their talks that they “discussed their respective responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the ongoing tragic humanitarian crisis.”

QUAD CONCESSION IN INDIA?

In an apparent concession to India, which has long had close ties with Russia, the words “Russia” or “Russian” do not appear in the statement.

Following the Quad summit, Kishida said leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared their concerns over Ukraine and all four agreed on the importance of the rule of law , sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Biden’s comment on Taiwan, which was not even on the official agenda of the Quad meeting, drew much of the attention from delegations and the media.

While Washington is required by law to provide self-governing Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed the policy of “strategic ambiguity” over whether it would intervene militarily to protect it in the event of a Chinese attack – a Biden convention appeared to break Monday. Read more

On Tuesday, Biden, who was asked if there had been a change in US policy on Taiwan, replied, “No.”

“The policy hasn’t changed at all. I said that in my statement yesterday,” he said after talks with his Quad counterparts.

China regards Taiwan as an inalienable part of its territory and says it is the most sensitive and important issue in its relationship with Washington.

Biden’s comment on Monday, when he offered US military support for Taiwan, was the latest in a string of seemingly off-the-cuff assertions that suggest his personal inclination is to defend the island.

Some critics said he misspoke on the issue or blundered, but other analysts suggested that, given Biden’s vast foreign policy experience and the context in which he had made these remarks, next to Kishida and after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. , he had not spoken by mistake. Read more

Other analysts and advisers said Biden would send a clear message to China on his trip — don’t try what Russia did in Ukraine anywhere in Asia, especially not in Taiwan. Read more

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday that the one-China principle cannot be shaken and that no force in the world, including the United States, could prevent China from reaching a “complete reunification”.

Biden left Tokyo shortly after sunset to return home.

“GLOBAL PROBLEM”

Speaking to reporters, Biden condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying it had global ramifications.

“Russia’s assault on Ukraine only reinforces the importance of these goals of fundamental principles of international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty. International law, human rights must always be defended, no matter where in the world they are violated,” he said.

Kishida echoed Biden’s condemnation of Russia, saying his invasion “shakes the foundations of the international order” and was a direct challenge to United Nations principles.

“We should not allow similar things to happen in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

Biden said the United States would stand with its “close democratic partners” to push for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The United States has been frustrated by what it sees as India’s lack of support for US sanctions against Russia and condemnation of the invasion. India also abstained in UN Security Council votes on the Russian invasion.

Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said “strong views” had been expressed during talks on Russia, but did not elaborate. Read more

Albanese told his fellow leaders he wanted them all to lead the fight against climate change.

“The region expects us to work with them and lead by example,” he said.

China has extended its influence in the Pacific where island nations face some of the most direct risks from rising seas. Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi will visit the Solomon Islands in the coming days, which recently signed a security pact with China despite American and Australian reluctance. Read more

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Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Sakura Murakami, David Dolan, Chang-Ran Kim, Kiyoshi Takenaka, Ju-min Park, Nobuhiro Kubo, Krishna Das and Martin Pollard; Written by Trevor Hunnicutt and Elaine Lies; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel, Edmund Klamann and Raju Gopalakrishnan

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