According to a report from Financial Times, the US is working with Japan, Australia, and India to distribute Covid-19 vaccines as part of a broad strategy to counter Chinese influence in the region.
The US, Japan, Australia, and India make up the informal alliance, or dialogue, known as the Quad. Anonymous sources told the Times that the White House had held recent discussions with other Quad countries about a vaccine distribution program.
The report said the plan to use vaccine distribution to counter China is one of many initiatives the Quad hopes to announce soon. “The Biden administration is making the Quad the core dynamic of its Asia policy,” one source told the Times.
The Quad countries are also boosting military cooperation and are seen as a possible foundation for a NATO-style alliance in Asia.
Spearheading the efforts to strengthen the Quad is Kurt Campbell, the head of Indo-Pacific policy on the National Security Council (NSC). Campbell is known as the architect of the Obama administration’s Asia policy, which became known as the “Asia pivot.”
While the Obama administration got bogged down in more Middle East conflicts, the Biden Administration seems determined to focus on Asia. The NSC was restructured to reflect this. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan downsized the team devoted to the Middle East and added more positions that deal with Asia.