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

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

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

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

Mr Biden’s comments came 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.

It was later reported that Russian and Chinese warplanes had approached Japanese airspace as part of a joint military patrol, prompting Tokyo to announce it had scrambled jets in response.

Russian officials said the flight over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea was part of an annual military exercise.

Mr Kishida told a news conference that planning the exercise to coincide with today’s summit was “provocative”.

The statement, which followed a summit meeting of the four members of the so-called Quad alliance, comes with international pressure on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, and growing concern about whether Beijing could try to forcibly seize self-ruled Taiwan.

“As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is shaking the fundamental principles of the international order... (we) confirmed that unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force will never be tolerated anywhere, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region,” Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.

The meeting was attended by US President Joe Biden, Australian premier Anthony Albanese and Kishida.

In a joint statement, the leaders made specific reference to “the militarisation of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities” -- all activities China is accused of carrying out regionally. But they avoided explicit condemnation of either China or Russia. After talks in Tokyo, the Quad nations also agreed on a new maritime monitoring initiative that is expected to bolster surveillance of Chinese activity in the region.

And they announced a plan to spend at least $50 billion on infrastructure projects and investment in the region over the next five years.

| Japanese PM Fumio Kishida says that a similar invasion

should not happen in Asia