Leaders of four Quad countries called North Korea to return to the negotiation table on Friday (local time). They also boasted their solidarity as a body to keep China in check by reconfirming the promise to create “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“We urge North Korea to abide by its U.N. obligations, refrain from provocations. We also call on North Korea to engage in substantive dialogue,” U.S. President Joe Biden said after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House. “We reaffirm our commitment to the complete denuclearization of North Korea in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
The Quad countries included a sentence “We reaffirm our commitment for complete denuclearization of North Korea” in the joint statement after a video summit in March when Biden took office. But this time, they added a demand for “substantive dialogue.” It seems to reflect the Biden administration’s continued efforts to find ways to resume talks with the North while consistently expressing its intention to have unconditional dialogue with Pyongyang. They also mentioned a need to immediately resolve the issue of Japanese abductees.
“Together, we recommit to promoting the free, open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion, to bolster security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond,” the leaders said in the statement. On cooperation in communications technology including 5G, they said, “We have established cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, to ensure the way in which technology is designed, developed, governed, and used is shaped by our shared values and respect for universal human rights.” They took an example of Open-RAN as they said this. They also decided to establish “a new Quad infrastructure partnership” to share related technologies and support each other with various infrastructure including communications technologies.
The four heads of state did not directly mention China in the statement, but a significant part of the agreement seems to be targeting China. 5G networks, vaccine and infrastructure partnerships with low income countries as well as maritime security of the Indo-Pacific region are areas in which the U.S. competed with China. The Washington Post also reported China was the background music of the Quad summit, asserting China was included in most of the agenda even though no one directly mentioned China or Beijing.