Japan, U.S., ROK Agree to Coordinate Swiftly in Event of Threats

Masanori Genko / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, U.S. President Joe Biden, center, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol attend a joint press conference after their talks at Camp David, Md., on Friday.

CAMP DAVID, Md. — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol agreed to swiftly hold consultations in the event of threats affecting the common interests of their countries, during talks at Camp David on Friday.

With North Korea and China in mind, the leaders also agreed to raise trilateral security cooperation to “a new height.”

At a joint press conference following the meeting at the presidential retreat in the suburbs of Washington, Kishida said: “To make the potential of our trilateral strategic collaboration bloom and blossom is only logical and almost inevitable, and is required in this era. The three of us here today declare our determination to pioneer the new era of Japan, U.S., ROK partnership.”

Biden said: “We’re elevating our trilateral defense collaboration to deliver in the Indo-Pacific region. That includes launching annual multidomain military exercises, bringing our trilateral defense cooperation to unprecedented levels.”

He added: “This is the first summit I’ve hosted at Camp David as President. I can think of no more fitting location to begin the next era — our next era of cooperation — a place that has long symbolized the power of new beginnings and new possibilities.

“In the months and years ahead, we’re going to continue to seize those possibilities together — unwavering in our unity and unmatched in our resolve. This is not about a day, a week, or month. This is about decades and decades of relationships that we’re building.”

Meanwhile, Yoon stressed the significance of the summit, saying, “From this moment on, Camp David will be remembered as a historic place where the Republic of Korea, the United States, and Japan proclaimed that we will bolster the rules-based international order and play key roles to enhance regional security and prosperity based on our shared values of freedom, human rights, and rule of law.”

The leaders agreed to swiftly share information and coordinate responses in the event of challenges and threats affecting the common interests and security of the three countries, eyeing possible emergencies in the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan.

“The coordination between the Japan-U.S. and the U.S.-ROK alliances will be reinforced, and trilateral security cooperation will be brought to a new height,” Kishida said.

After the meeting, the three countries released the Camp David Principles, a document that will guide medium- to long-term cooperation among the three countries, and the Spirit of Camp David, a joint statement that included specific details about their cooperation.

According to the Camp David Principles, Japan, South Korea and the United States “will continue to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific based on a respect for international law, shared norms and common values.”

The document states: “We strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion … We stand united in our commitment to the complete denuclearization of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea … [and] We reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

According to the joint statement, the three countries will hold regular trilateral meetings at various levels — involving leaders, foreign chiefs and defense chiefs — and annual joint drills involving the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. and South Korean forces.

A new “Trilateral Indo-Pacific Dialogue” will also be launched to discuss regional affairs, according to the joint statement.

Eyeing China’s continued maritime expansion in the East and South China Seas, the joint statement criticized “dangerous and aggressive behavior supporting unlawful maritime claims.”

According to the joint statement, the three countries will strengthen economic security by launching “early warning system pilots” to enable swift information sharing to avert disruptions in global supply chains. The document states that the move is aimed at better preparing the nations to “confront and overcome economic coercion.”

Friday’s talks marked the first time Biden, Kishida and Yoon have got together for a trilateral summit that was not held on the sidelines of an international conference. It was also the first time Biden has invited foreign leaders to Camp David since he took office in 2021.