By Janet Ekstract NEW YORK- On Friday, President Biden announced the signing of a trilateral agreement between the U.S., Japan and South Korea. The agreement aims to strengthen security and economic commitments. Biden met one-on-one with the two leaders of Japan and South Korea at Camp David, in what is being hailed as a historic summit that will enable the three nations to further strengthen their regional security cooperation while focusing on dealing with threats from North Korea as well as China’s continuing influence in the region. In a press conference on Friday afternoon, Biden praised the summit and commented: “We meet in this historic place to make a historic moment, and I believe that to be true.” He added: “This is a new era and partnership between Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States, our new Camp David Trilat.” In addition, President Biden showed his gratitude to the Japanese and South Korean leaders for contributing to Maui’s wildlife relief fund. Japan’s Kishida announced his country is providing about $2 million in aid.
Biden, who met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon suk-Yeol, explained in a joint statement, entitled “The Spirit of Camp David,” exactly what the new commitments between the three of them, will be. Those include new coordination efforts with a hotline available, in the event of a crisis in that region. The three also announced in the statement, a “commitment to consult” each other “in an expeditious manner to coordinate our responses to regional challengers, provocations and threats that affect our collective interests and security.” Japan, South Korea and the U.S. must ramp up information sharing about North Korea’s military activities especially missile launches and cyber-related actions, significantly increase missile-defense cooperation to counter nuclear and missile threats from Pyongyang. The three leaders also pledged to keep “peace and stability in the Taiwan straits,” where earlier this week, China conducted what analysts view as threatening military exercises.
Regarding economic ties, the U.S., Japan and South Korea plan on launching an early-warning system for pilots to broaden the ability to share crucial information and to bolster coordination in case of supply-chain disruption. As Korea’s President Yoon told the press: “We will bolster the rules-based international order and play key roles to enhance regional security and prosperity based on our shared values on freedom, human rights, and rule of law.” The three leaders plan to meet on an annual basis, with a program for Cabinet-level officials to convene at regular intervals for an indefinite period. At a press briefing at Camp David Friday morning, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called the summit a “new era” in cooperation for the U.S., Japan and North Korea that provides an opportunity to create a seamless system for decades to come.
Meanwhile, Sullivan reiterated a caveat about the agreement, explaining that no Article 5 statement exists that would consider a military attack on one member an attack on all members. What the agreement does do, is commit each country to military cooperation and shared defense exercises. Sullivan added that this trilateral agreement “sets the conditions for a more peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific and a stronger and more secure United States of America.” As President Biden summed it up: “I can think of no more fitting location to begin the next era of cooperation, a place that has long symbolized the power of new beginnings and new possibilities.”