HomeTrendingUS, South Korea, Japan to boost military co-operation against China

US, South Korea, Japan to boost military co-operation against China

In a joint statement made at Camp David on Friday, US President Joe Biden and the leaders of South Korea, Japan, and other nations vowed to strengthen their military and economic ties and denounce China’s “dangerous and aggressive behaviour” in the South China Sea.

In an effort to project unity in the face of China’s rising influence and North Korea’s nuclear threats, the Biden administration convened the summit with the leaders of the two biggest US allies in Asia, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The three nations agreed, in a summit statement, to swiftly confer with 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.

The first separate gathering of the US, Japan, and South Korea took place at the presidential retreat in Maryland, and it was made possible by a reconciliation effort led by Yoon and motivated by a shared understanding of the threats posed by China, North Korea, and Russia following their invasion of Ukraine.

Stronger than anticipated words from the leaders on China stood out and is likely to elicit a response from Beijing, which is a crucial trading partner for both South Korea and Japan.

“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,” the statement said.

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.

For foreign leaders, it was Biden’s first Camp David summit; he noted that the natural setting had long stood for “the power of new beginnings and new possibilities.”

“If I seem like I’m happy, I am,” he told a joint news conference with Kishida and Yoon, calling it a “new era” for the three countries. “This has been a great, great meeting.”


US praises Japan, South Korea for historic reconciliation

US President Joe Biden commended the leaders of Japan and South Korea for having the political will to pursue a 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.”

“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.” Joe Biden said.

“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 added.

Without mentioning China by name, Kishida 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.”

Yoon said the summit agreement meant that “any provocations or attacks against any one of our three countries will trigger a decision making process of this trilateral framework and our solidarity will become even stronger and harder.”

US officials claim that one of the reasons the three nations are not now pursuing a three-way mutual-defense agreement similar to those Washington has separately with both Seoul and Tokyo – who are not themselves recognised allies – is because of leftover historical baggage.

The conference, according to Kurt Campbell, Biden’s coordinator for Indo-Pacific issues, was made possible by Yoon and Kishida’s “awesome kind of diplomacy,” which at times “went against the advice of their own counsellors and staff.”


China responds warily to summit

China has previously expressed concern that US initiatives to deepen ties with South Korea and Japan may “create tension and hostility in the Pacific region.

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.

Biden, an 80-year-old Democrat running for re-election in 2024, would certainly face Republican former President Donald Trump, who has questioned whether Washington gains anything from its long-standing military and economic partnerships.

Both South Korea and Japan must hold elections for their legislatures before October 2025, and voters in both countries continue to be divided over the still-fragile rapprochement between the two countries.