WASHINGTON: The first face-to-face meeting between the leaders of the so-called Quad – Australia, India, Japan and the United States – spawned several initiatives designed to help moderate or break China’s grip on certain technologies, including semiconductors. 5G chips and networks. It also includes a new civilian space initiative and an increased focus on cybersecurity.
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’s semiconductor effort (the official name) is “a comprehensive joint initiative to map global capacity” and to identify and remediate supply chain vulnerabilities, a senior official said. from the US administration to reporters ahead of today’s meetings.
The 5G effort is similarly designed to help create “a diverse, resilient and secure telecommunications ecosystem,” and is obviously aimed squarely at pushing back the 5G efforts of Huawei and ZTE.
The United States has vigorously urged its allies and partners to resist efforts by Huawei and China to make theirs the underlying technology for many domestic 5G networks.
A key element of the strategy is the promotion of “development and adoption of an open RAN”. For those who may not know what RAN is, Nokia provides this explanation:
“The RAN is the last link between the network and the telephone. This is the visible piece and includes the antennas we see on towers, on top of buildings or in stadiums, as well as base stations. When we make a call or connect to a remote server, for example to watch a YouTube video, the antenna transmits and receives signals to and from our phones or other portable devices. The signal is then digitized in the RAN base station and connected to the network.
On the cybersecurity front, the senior administration official told reporters, “We have a strong cybersecurity effort underway with the State Department that is going to be beefed up at the leadership level.
“We will try to take measures to strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure against cyber threats – something plaguing our four countries,” the official said. “And we are advancing a very high level group on specific capabilities and technologies.”
The space initiative will lead countries to share “information on illegal fishing, on issues related to maritime awareness,” the senior official said, adding that it will also involve monitoring climate change and “promoting[ing] a variety of problems associated with estuaries and fishing – fishing in general.
Each of the Quad leaders was scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with and among President Biden, and they are all scheduled to meet this afternoon. The Quad has three working groups: one on vaccine development, one on critical technologies and one on climate change.
At the time of going to press, no details had been released about the meetings beyond the now standard claim that the Quad meeting, as Japanese Prime Minister Suga said during a brief appearance in the Quad. press pool, “demonstrates a strong solidarity between our four nations and an unwavering commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
One of the ironies of the Quad meeting is that while its very formal name indicates that security is central to its work, administration officials who briefed the press have continued to say that national security matters were not the focus of today’s meeting. However, each country had at least its version of the national security adviser at the meetings.
Meanwhile, on the eve of the Quad meetings, China has done its best to demonstrate that it does not necessarily share the goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific, launching waves of two dozen hunters and bombers inside Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
The signal included 12 J-16 fighters, two J-11 jets, two H-6 bombers, two anti-submarine warfare planes and an electronic warfare aircraft entered the ADIZ, according to the Ministry of Defense. Defense of Taiwan.
These flights were followed by three other aircraft on the morning of the meetings.