India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Hiroshima Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, 20 May 2023. EFE/EPA/JAPAN POOL JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Quad leaders meet on sidelines of G7

Hiroshima, Japan, May 20 (EFE).- The leaders of the Quad, a strategic security forum made up of Japan, the United States, Australia and India, held a brief summit Saturday on the sidelines of a G7 summit taking place in the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

The meeting, which was only scheduled to last 40 minutes, began with opening statements from each of the leaders.

US President Joe Biden attending a side program of the G7 Hiroshima Summit ‘Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment’ at the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima in Hiroshima, Japan, 20 May 2023. EFE/EPA/G7 Hiroshima Summit Host HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

The Quad summit was originally scheduled for May 24 in Australia, but that was canceled after US president Joe Biden announced his early return to Washington to try to reach an agreement with Republicans on suspending the debt ceiling before the June 1 deadline.

In his remarks, Biden apologized for having to move the meeting from Australia to Japan, before highlighting the value his country places in the security dialogue with India, Australia and Japan, which began in 2007.

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, who hosted the meeting, spoke of ensuring a “free and open” Indo-Pacific, in reference to China’s expansionist aims.

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of the region being “inclusive” of all countries, saying it has the capacity to be “an engine for global trade”.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that the security environment in the Indo-Pacific has worsened since Japan hosted the Quad summit a year ago and said he hoped that the alliance would guide the international community to “cooperation rather than division and confrontation”.

The Quad leaders met in Hiroshima because all four were in the city for the G7 Summit. Japan and the US are part of the Group of Seven, while Australia and India were attending as guests.

According to the White House, during the meeting the leaders planned to discuss “new” forms of cooperation in the Quad in areas such as digital technologies, infrastructure, maritime security and submarine cables, which are fundamental for global communications. EFE