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First in-person Quad summit likely to be announced after Biden-Suga meeting

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The first in-person summit of the leaders of the Quad is likely to be announced on Friday after US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House, a senior Biden administration official has said.

No specifics were given by the official who previewed the upcoming Biden-Suga meeting on background. But Japan has been known to be keen for an in-person summit – following the first summit held virtually in March – to take place on the sidelines of the upcoming G7 summit in the UK in June.

Nikkei news publication has reported that Suga plans to visit Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the US visit to lay the groundwork for the in-person summit.

The G7 will hold its 47th summit in Carbis Bay, a seaside resort in Cornwall, UK from June 11 to 13.

India and Australia, which form the four-nation Quad with the US and Japan, are not members of the G7, but they will attend the summit, along with South Korea, on the invitation from the UK, which has the presidency of the group this year.

“There will be discussion on the Quad. I think the two leaders are likely to discuss and announce when we’re likely to have a… four-person meeting. We’ll have more on that tomorrow,” the Biden administration official said while previewing Friday’s meeting.

Suga will be Biden’s first foreign guest at the White House after the latter took office in January.

The two leaders will also review progress on the vaccine initiative the Quad leaders announced at their virtual meeting in March at Biden’s initiative.

India is expected to produce up to 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines under a plan that is to be funded by the US and Japan. Australia will pick up the tab for the last-mile distribution.

“We view the Quad, even though it’s an unofficial gathering, as a huge part of the architecture of the Indo-Pacific going forward,” the official said, underscoring the significance of the group, which is bound together, as a Congressional research service paper said recently, by their distrust of China.

Born in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami to pool the resources of the four nations for relief and rehabilitation in the affected areas, the Quad held its first meeting in 2007, but fell apart the next year in 2008.

The group was revived in 2017 with a meeting of officials on the sidelines of the Asean in Manila. It quickly graduated to a ministerial level in 2019, and then to a summit in 2021.

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