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World faces ‘dark hour’ with Ukraine war, says Biden

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The world is “navigating a dark hour in our shared history” with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US president Joe Biden told key Asian allies.

The war has now become a “global issue” underscoring the importance of defending the international order, he said.

Japanese PM Fumio Kishida echoed his comments, saying that a similar invasion should not happen in Asia.

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Biden is meeting the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in Tokyo on his first visit to Asia as president.

The four countries, known collectively as the Quad, are discussing security and economic concerns including China’s growing influence in the region—and differences over the Russian invasion.

Biden’s comments come a day after he warned China that it was “flirting with danger” over Taiwan, and vowed to protect Taiwan militarily if China attacked, appearing to contradict a long-standing US policy on the issue.

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In his opening remarks at Tuesday’s summit, Biden said their meeting was about “democracies versus autocracies, and we have to make sure that we deliver”.

The Ukraine war, he said, “is going to affect all parts of the world” as Russia’s blockade of Ukraine grain exports worsens a global food crisis.

Biden promised the US would work with allies to lead the global response, reiterating their commitment to defend international order and sovereignty “regardless of where they were violated in the world” and remaining a “strong and enduring partner” in the Indo-Pacific region.

After their meeting, Kishida told reporters that all four countries “including India” agreed on the importance of the rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity; and that “unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force will never be tolerated”.

India is the only Quad member so far that has refused to directly criticise Russia for the invasion.

The Quad nations announced a new maritime monitoring initiative that is expected to step up surveillance of Chinese activity in the region, along with a plan to spend at least $50 billion (£40 billion) on infrastructure projects and investment over the next five years.— BBC

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