WASHINGTON CONFIRMS DIRECT ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN US AND CHINESE DIPLOMATS

Leaders of the United States, Japan, Australia and India will hold a virtual summit later this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks on Friday.

The summit would be the first time the leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, will meet since its formation in 2007. The Quad is considered to be a counterweight to China’s increasingly aggressive actions throughout the Asia-Pacific region; Beijing has denounced the Quad as an attempt to contain its development.

The four-way meeting will take place just days before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Japan and South Korea. The trip will be the first overseas mission by Biden administration officials since President Biden’s inauguration on January 20.