TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will travel to Washington later this month to attend the first face-to-face leaders summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.
Suga, U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi aim to strengthen the four-way partnership in the Indo-Pacific region in response to China's growing clout.
The Japanese prime minister on Wednesday kicked off preparations to participate in the Quad summit.
Suga will not run in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's leadership election in late September, meaning that he will step down as prime minister in a few weeks. But he has decided to attend the meeting in Washington in response to Biden's invitation. The two leaders are also expected to meet on the sidelines of the Quad summit to affirm their cooperation toward peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, echoing their bilateral meeting in April.
Quad leaders had agreed at their virtual summit in March to meet in person by the end of the year. Though they had stopped short of criticizing China by name in their joint statement from that event, they had pledged to "meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas."
The leaders had also agreed to set up expert working groups on coronavirus vaccines, critical and emerging technologies, and climate change. In Washington, they are expected to discuss how to better distribute vaccines to developing economies to counter Chinese vaccine diplomacy.
At a separate meeting in August, senior Quad officials had discussed specific areas for cooperation in maritime security and cybersecurity toward a "free and open Indo-Pacific."