The Korea Herald


Summit to set protocol for trilateral ties

By Choi Si-young

Published : Aug. 15, 2023 - 15:12

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Clockwise from top left: The US, Japanese and South Korean flags. (123rf) Clockwise from top left: The US, Japanese and South Korean flags. (123rf)

The US, South Korea and Japan are expected to set up protocols to bolster three-way ties at a Camp David summit in Maryland on Friday, according to a media report.

News website Axios said Monday that Biden, South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will unveil the “Camp David Principles,” which will institutionalize progress in relations and make it harder for the two Asian leaders to reverse course amid their recent thaw over historical disputes.

“The symbolism of meeting at Camp David cannot be overstated,” the report said, quoting a senior Biden administration official.

“There is no question because of their rapprochement, we are able to do way more.”

At the US presidential retreat, the three leaders, the report added, will also establish a hotline to communicate during emergencies and agree to consult one another in crises. The US is reportedly seeking to have Seoul and Tokyo come to terms with saying in a joint statement that they will consult each other should either side be attacked.

But Yoon’s national security adviser has openly dismissed the possibility, dampening speculation over a potential trilateral security arrangement, something close to collective defense. Washington has mutual defense treaties with Seoul and Tokyo separately.

The US-led coalition is expected to launch steps on joint military exercises aimed at curbing North Korea’s missile advances. The isolated country still defies United Nations Security Council resolutions placed over its nuclear weapons programs.

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo will also likely address peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, as Beijing continues to contend, if necessary, it could take over Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island Washington supports.

In a Tuesday speech marking Korea’s independence from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule, Yoon described the Camp David gathering as setting a new milestone in three-way ties, highlighting a push to bolster security cooperation.

“The three countries have to share real-time information about the North’s weapons and work together on reconnaissance assets to cut off nuclear and missile threats from North Korea,” Yoon said.

Yoon called Japan a partner that shares with South Korea “universal values and common interests.” The Korean leader, who took power in May last year vowing closer ties with not only Washington, but also Tokyo, took initiative in mending strained relations with Japan in March. In May, Yoon and Kishida resumed regular visits to each other’s countries after a 12-year hiatus, a thaw Washington had long sought.