US, Japan, and South Korea Agree to Consult in Crisis

Nations also expand economic ties in Camp David meeting
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 18, 2023 4:45 PM CDT
US, Japan and South Korea Agree to Consult in Crisis
President Biden, center, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, and South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, attend a meeting Friday at Camp David, Maryland.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Biden and the leaders of Japan and South Korea agreed Friday to expand security and economic ties at a historic summit at the presidential retreat of Camp David. Their meeting comes at a time when the three countries are on an increasingly tense ledge in their relations with China and North Korea. Biden said the three nations would establish a hotline to discuss responses to threats, the AP reports. He announced the agreements, including what they termed the "Camp David Principles," at the close of his talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. "The purpose of our trilateral security cooperation is and will remain to promote and enhance peace and stability throughout the region," they said in a joint statement.

The three leaders agreed to "improve our trilateral communication mechanism to facilitate regular and timely communication between our countries, including our national leadership," the statement said. "Our countries are stronger and the world will be safer as we stand together," Biden said as he opened the meeting. Yoon said as the three appeared before reporters that "today will be remembered as a historic day, where we established a firm institutional basis and commitments to the trilateral partnership." And Kishida said before the private talks that "the fact that we, the three leaders, have got together in this way, I believe means that we are indeed making a new history as of today. The international community is at a turning point in history."

The US, Japan, and South Korea agreed to a new "duty to consult" security pledge committing the countries to speak with each other in the event of a security crisis or threat in the Pacific. The pledge is intended to acknowledge that the three countries share "fundamentally interlinked security environments" and that a threat to one of them is "a threat to all," according to a senior Biden administration official. Under the pledge, the countries agree to consult, share information, and align their messaging in the face of a threat or crisis, the official said. Sustaining the trilateral relationship will have challenges, per the AP. Beijing sees the cooperation efforts as the first steps of a Pacific version of NATO forming against it. US officials expect that North Korea will lash out—perhaps with more ballistic missile test and certainly blistering rhetoric.

(More diplomacy stories.)

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