WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden will meet with leaders from Australia, India and Japan in his first-ever Quad Leaders Summit on September 24, according to the White House.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan are expected to take part in the meeting. He previously hosted the leaders in what was called an "engagement" by the White House in March but the event was virtual.
"Hosting the leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st century," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Monday.
Psaki said the leaders will focus on deepening their ties and cooperation when it comes to battling the COVID-19 global pandemic and climate change. They’ll also talk about partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace.
Known as the "Quadrilateral Security Dialogue," representatives for the four-member nations have met periodically since its establishment in 2007. That followed the nations providing relief to Indonesia following the 2004 tsunami there.
Earlier this month, in his most forceful pandemic actions and words, Biden ordered sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans — private-sector employees as well as health care workers and federal contractors — in an all-out effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant. Biden sharply criticized the tens of millions of Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.
Other countries have also struggled with getting COVID-19 cases under control. Parts of Australia’s New South Wales state recently came out of lockdown, and the government plans to ease restrictions in Sydney once 70% of its residents aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated.
Japan’s government says more than 50% of the population has been fully vaccinated. The government is studying a roadmap for easing restrictions around November when a large majority of the population is expected to be fully vaccinated. That would allow fully vaccinated people and those who test negative to travel, gather for parties or attend mass events.
India has dramatically increased COVID-19 vaccination rates in its vast rural hinterland, where around 65% of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people live.
Biden also highlighted the need to do more about climate change after touring storm damage in New York and New Jersey Tuesday from Hurricane Ida last week.
"Folks, we got to listen to the scientists and the economists and the national security experts, they all tell us this is ‘code red,’ the nation and the world are in peril," Biden said during a news conference in Queens, New York. "That’s not hyperbole. That is a fact."
Biden’s aim to fight climate change is part of his larger infrastructure plan known as the "Build Back Better" agenda, which also calls for more jobs, easier access to health care and tax cuts. In regard to climate change, Biden said he wants to work with the other world leaders to end emissions by 2050.
The United Kingdom will host a UN climate change conference with other world leaders in November.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story as reported from Los Angeles.