US, Japan and South Korea have vowed to grow their ties both militarily and economically. On Friday, the three nations agreed on strengthening their cooperation in the areas of military and economy. At Camp David, US President Joe Biden along with the leaders of South Korea and Japan jointly condemned the “dangerous and aggressive behavior” by China in the South China Sea.
In a show of joint unity and strength, US along with its allies South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, organized and took part in the summit against the enhancing powers of China and military threats from North Korea.
The three nations agreed, in a summit statement, to swiftly offer help to one another during emergencies and to coordinate their actions to regional difficulties, provocations, and dangers impacting shared interests.
By the end of 2023, they also consented to conduct annual military training drills and to exchange real-time data on North Korean missile launches. The nations agreed to regularly hold trilateral summits.
The political agreements do not amount to a formal three-way alliance, but they are a brave step for Seoul and Tokyo given their long-standing animosity against one another due to Japan’s oppressive 1910–1945 colonial occupation of Korea.
Stronger than anticipated words from the leaders on China stood out and is likely to elicit a response from Beijing, a crucial trading partner for both South Korea and Japan.
According to the statement, “Regarding the dangerous and aggressive behavior supporting unlawful maritime claims that we have recently witnessed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the South China Sea, we strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the waters of the Indo-Pacific.”
At the summit, Biden called the woodsy venue as a symbol of “the power of new beginnings and new possibilities,” which it had long been so. Also, the venue is the one Biden to hold the summit. Answering a joint news conference, he said, “If I seem like I’m happy, I am, This has been a great, great meeting.” Biden called the joint summit with Kishida and Yoon as a “new era” for the three countries.
Biden commended the leaders for having the political will to pursue reconciliation. The world, he said, was “at an inflection point, where we’re called to lead in new ways, to work together, to stand together.”
He said, “Critically, we’ve all committed to swiftly consult with each other in response to threats to any one of our countries from whatever source it occurs. That means we’ll have a hotline to share information and coordinate our responses whenever there is a crisis in the region, or affecting any one of our countries.”
“Together we’re going to stand up for international law,” and against “coercion,” Biden said.
Kishida indirectly spoke of China, without taking the name. He said, “Unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas are continuing,” while adding that the North Korean nuclear and missile threat was “only becoming ever larger.”
Liu Pengyu, a spokeswoman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, claimed that the international community could determine who was escalating tensions.
“Attempts to cobble together various exclusionary groupings and bring bloc confrontation and military blocs into the Asia-Pacific are not going to get support and will only be met with vigilance and opposition from regional countries,” he said.
Beijing had previously expressed concern that American efforts to deepen relations with South Korea and Japan would “increase tension and confrontation in the area.
China claims that Washington is attempting to diplomatically isolate and militarily encircle it, despite the desire of South Korea, Japan, and the United States to avoid offending Beijing.
When asked about the accusations made by China, Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, responded to reporters that the aim was “explicitly not a NATO for the Pacific” and that a trilateral alliance had not been defined as an explicit goal.
The White House wants to make the advancements between South Korea and Japan difficult to reverse by institutionalising routine collaboration across the board in light of the impending elections.