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Huawei may become a bargaining chip at Quad meeting

In its re-emergence in 2021, the Quad placed a heavy emphasis on practical actions the four countries can take, rather than narrowly defining itself as a bulwark against Beijing’s conduct as an expanding economic, military and strategic power.

As a measure of the shift, the word “security”, once considered the unifying threat that bound the group together, rated a mention only twice in the summit’s final joint statement, titled The Spirit of the Quad.

Even so, its members have each been confronted by China’s power and the leaders did not hide their angst or their purpose.

During the brief section of the summit open to the media, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga spoke of feeling “emotional” about its re-emergence and the group’s dedication to realising a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.

His Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, told colleagues: “The Quad has come of age. It will now remain an important pillar of stability in the region.”

Without naming China, Scott Morrison, Australian PM stressed the need for countries of the region to respect and support the “sovereignty, independence and security” of others.

Biden laid down his additional aspiration that nations be “free of coercion”, a feature of Chinese government behaviour that each Quad member is aggrieved by, whether economic, territorial or through forms of foreign interference in their own jurisdictions.

All four leaders have agreed to meet in person at their next Summit before the end of the year.

“The ambition of these engagements is fit to the moment; we are committed to leveraging our partnership to help the world’s most dynamic region respond to historic crisis, so that it may be the free, open, accessible, diverse, and thriving Indo-Pacific we all seek”, the Quad members said in their official written statement after the inaugural talks.

Huawei or the highway
In their private talks, the leaders also addressed China’s dominance in, and their growing dependence on, hi-tech information systems.

India, Japan and the US have considerable clout as competitors in those industries, but have struggled to compete against cheaper, mass scale production by state-owned enterprises under the CCP’s command.

Large cyber attacks, a global shortage of microchips and the race to build fast 5G mobile networks have exacerbated those rivalries.

In a likely nod to the cyber security threats posed by Chinese behemoth Huawei, the Quad has pledged to “encourage cooperation on telecommunications deployment, diversification of equipment suppliers and future telecommunications”.
CT Bureau

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