Biden and his fellow leaders— Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga — are all grappling with a rising China that Biden has accused of coercive economic practices and unsettling military maneuvering. They made no direct mention of China as they opened the group’s first ever in-person meeting, but the Pacific power played a big part in the private talks.
Suga raised concerns about China intentions in the South China Sea, where it’s stepped up its military presence in recent years, and the East China Sea, where a long-running dispute about a group of uninhabited islets administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing is a point of concern.
Suga also raised concerns about Chinese action towards Taiwan, said Japan’s foreign press secretary Tomoyuki Yoshida. On Thursday, Beijing dispatched 24 jets toward Taiwanese airspace after it submitted its application to join a trans-Pacific trade pact. The prime minister “emphasized the importance of the peace and stability in the Taiwan strait,” according to Yoshida.