Japan welcomes ROK, U.S. stance on importance of trilateral cooperation

AP Photo / Evan Vucci
U.S. President Joe Biden, right, speaks during a talk with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, third left, at the People’s House inside the Ministry of National Defense on Saturday in Seoul.

The Japanese government welcomed the fact that the presidents of the United States and South Korea agreed on the importance of trilateral cooperation with Japan at their bilateral summit on Saturday.

For trilateral cooperation to work in dealing with China and North Korea, improving Japan-South Korea relations is key, but many outstanding issues need to be addressed

Under the administration of former South Korean President Moon Jae-in, relations with Japan were described as the worst they have been since the end of World War II.

The administration threatened to scrap the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), indicating the breakdown in trust between the two countries’ defense authorities.

Amid such circumstances, the United States is becoming increasingly concerned about North Korea’s repeated missile launches.

“The improvement of Japan-South Korea relations cannot wait,” Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi has said.

However, it is unclear whether South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will be able to present solutions regarding such issues as wartime requisitioned workers.

Following the detection earlier this month of a South Korean research vessel in Japan’s exclusive economic zone near the Takeshima islands — which are illegally occupied by South Korea — the Japanese government is expected to carefully assess the stance of the new South Korean administration.