Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during the AFR Business Summit in Sydney on March 7, 2023.

Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday that a Quad summit would not go ahead in Sydney next week without US President Joe Biden, who postponed his trip to Australia because of debt ceiling negotiations in Washington.

Albanese said the leaders of Australia, the US, India and Japan would instead meet at the G7 in Japan this weekend, after Biden canceled a trip to Sydney on the second leg of his upcoming Asia tour, which would also have included a visit to Papua New Guinea.

“The Quad leaders’ meeting will not take place in Sydney next week. However, we will have that discussion between Quad leaders in Japan,” Albanese told a news conference.

A bilateral program in Sydney with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could still go ahead next week, Albanese said.

Albanese did not comment on whether Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida would still visit Sydney next week.

The Quad is an informal group promoting an open Indo-Pacific. Beijing sees it as an attempt to push back against its growing influence in the region.

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Senior fellow Richard Maude at the Asia Society Policy Institute said the cancellation of Biden’s visit to Papua New Guinea, which would have been the first visit by a US president to an independent Pacific island nation, could set back Washington’s struggle for influence with Beijing in the region.

“The mantra in the region is about turning up. Turning up is half the battle. China is showing up all the time, and so the optics are not good,” Maude, a former Australian intelligence chief, said at a Quad panel discussion on Wednesday.

India and Australia are not part of the G7 group of seven wealthy nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US – but have been invited to attend the summit in Japan.