PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you very much. It’s wonderful to be together with friends and — at this transformative moment in the world, and we are at a transformative moment.
Prime Minister Kishida, I want to commend you for the extraordinary leadership that, over the past few months, you’ve shown and for the gracious way in which you’ve hosted all of us.
And, Prime Minister Modi, it’s wonderful to see you again in person. The — and I thank you for your continuing commitment to making sure democracies deliver, because that’s what this is about: democracies versus autocracies. And we have to make sure we deliver.
Prime Minister Albanese, I welcome you to your first Quad meeting. Like I said, you got on a plane — you were sworn in and got on a plane. And I’m — if you fall asleep while you’re here, it’s okay. (Laughter.) Because I don’t know how you’re doing it. But — (laughs) — it is really quite extraordinary. Just getting off the campaign trail as well.
Congratulations on your election. As I told when you won — I called you — that we greatly appreciate your commitment of being here so soon after taking office.
Quad leaders met for the first time just over one year ago. It seems longer, but, to date, our partnership is central to achieving our goals and critical for the foundation of our continuing cooperation, in my view.
We already accomplished a great deal, as was referenced earlier: cooperating on COVID-19 response and health security — more to do, to state the obvious; partnering on 5G and technology supply chains, technology standards setting; and launching our — our Quad Fellowship Program, which I think can make a difference, which we talked about earlier.
At the same time, we’re navigating a dark hour in our shared history. The Russian brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe. And innocent civilians have [been] killed in the streets, and millions of refugees are internally displaced as well as exiled.
And this is more than just a European issue; it’s a global issue. The fact is that what — if you turn on the television and you’ll see what Russia is doing now, it appears to me that Putin is just trying to extinguish a culture. He’s not even aiming at military targets anymore; he’s taking out every school, every church, every — every natural history museum as if to try to obliterate the Ukrainian culture. And the world has to deal with it, and we are.
The global food crisis is made worse by Russia’s blocking Ukraine from exporting its millions of tons of grain. And also, as long as Russia continues the war, the United States will work with our partners to help be the global response, because it’s going to affect all parts of the world.
At the same time, the United States must and will be strong, steady, and an enduring partner in the Indo-Pacific. We are in the Indo-Pacific — we are — we are an Indo-Pacific power.
I was once asked by — well, I won’t go into it. But I was once asked by the leader of China why I kept talking about being an Indo-Pacific power. And I said, “Because we are. We share the Pacific — one entire side of our country.” And we have been deeply involved with all of you for a long time.
As long as Russia continues this war, we’re going to continue to be partners and gle- — lead a global response.
And, you know, we’re an Indo-Pacific power, as I said. We’re going to stand with you, our close democratic partners. And we’re going to stand for the shared values that — and the shared vision we all have.
You know, shortly before Russia launched this invasion, my administration published our Indo-Pacific strategy to advance a free, open, connected, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific.
Russia’s assault on Ukraine only heightens the importance of those goals — the fundamental principles of international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty, international law. Human rights must always be defended, regardless of where they’re violated in the world.
So, the Quad has a lot of work ahead of us. It’s — the fact of the matter is — and we’ve a lot of work to do keeping this region peaceful and stable; tackling this pandemic and the next one; and addressing the climate crisis, as referenced by our new colleague; ensuring that technologies of the future are governed according to our values — governed according to our values.
But a short time — in a short time, we’ve shown the Quad isn’t just a passing fad. We mean business. We’re here to get things done for the region. And I’m proud of what we’re building together. And I look forward to our vital partnership flourishing and for many years to come.
Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.
10:53 A.M. JST