The Korea Herald


Trilateral cooperation unaffected by US election outcomes: Goldberg

By Ji Da-gyum

Published : Nov. 28, 2023 - 17:44

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US Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg (second from right) speaks during a forum US Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg (second from right) speaks during a forum "The Future of South Korea-US Economic Partnership" hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AmCham Korea) at Grand Hyatt in Seoul on Tuesday. South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin (second from left) and chairman of AmCham Korea James Kim (left) also participate in the event. (AmCham)

The existing trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the United States and Japan will remain enduring, regardless of the outcome of the 2024 US presidential election, US Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg said Tuesday.

Goldberg highlighted that the foundation of the three-way cooperation among like-minded countries -- grounded in shared values such as democracy, free markets and the rule of law -- inherently signifies sustainability.

"We share so many of these values and interests that it's durable, I think, in that sense. In terms of durability, we also built into it the institutionalizing of the agreement," Goldberg said at a forum hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, or AmCham Korea, in Seoul.

"As far as elections next year, I'm a career foreign service officer. I'm not going to talk too much about it. But what I can tell you is there's tremendous bipartisan support in the United States," he added in response to a query about the sustainability of trilateral cooperation in the coming year and beyond, particularly in light of the US election cycle.

Goldberg noted that the three countries have integrated various mechanisms to facilitate the ongoing development of trilateral collaboration across multiple sectors, including science and technology.

During the Camp David summit in August, the three leaders solidified their dedication to enhancing cooperation in military, intelligence and economic realms, with the goal of collaboratively addressing intricate challenges and multifaceted crises. The trio signed the "Camp David Principles" to provide guidance for ongoing collaboration and the "Spirit of Camp David" delineating specific visions and detailed plans for implementation.

Goldberg highlighted the commitment to conduct trilateral meetings among leaders, foreign ministers and defense ministers at least annually, as outlined in the Spirit of Camp David, as a pivotal example of the ongoing efforts to institutionalize trilateral cooperation.

"So, there are a lot of ways to institutionalize and keep that process going, but fundamentally, it's because it's in the interests of all three countries and represents the values at the core of which is our three important democracies," he said.

In alignment with this perspective, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin underscored the inherently "very natural" nature of trilateral cooperation among countries that share common values.

"What will happen to our trilateral cooperation in 2024? Well, nobody knows what is going to happen in 2024. But despite any possible political changes in the three countries, there's no question that the serious commitment made at Camp David …will be sustainable," Park said.

"So, I'm quite sure that this is a historic agreement that should be respected, and which should be sustainable, and which will be in that way."

Park also reiterated that South Korea, the US, and Japan will collectively serve as members of the 15-member UN Security Council next year. South Korea has been elected to serve as a non-permanent member for a two-year term spanning from 2024 to 2025. Japan has been serving as one of the non-permanent members since this year, while the US holds a veto-wielding permanent membership in the UNSC.

"Three of us will work closely together in the United Nations by dealing with all the global challenges and agenda together," Park said.

"So, the three countries will continuously make greater synergy in the future, both contributing to peace and freedom and prosperity of the world. Very important."