President Yoon Suk Yeol, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are preparing to endorse a trilateral summit document outlining a “duty to consult” in times of crisis, as a senior U.S. official confirmed.
The unveiling of this document is anticipated during the historic trilateral summit at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland. At the meeting, leaders are expected to address the heightened threats posed by North Korea’s military activities, China’s assertiveness, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
A senior U.S. official has underlined that the forthcoming U.S.-ROK summit will deliver momentous outcomes, including a joint security agreement and the regularizing of meetings.
The summit, which will bring together U.S. President Joe Biden, South Korean President Yun Suk-yol, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, will also feature the release of a series of trilateral statements and collaborative outputs.
The potential commitment to consult has sparked speculation about the three nations moving towards a heightened level of cooperation akin to an alliance. However, whether the term “duty” will be included in the final document remains uncertain, as noted by experts.
This announcement was made during a telephonic press briefing on Thursday, highlighting the evolving unity among the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
President Biden elaborated on his invitation to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yun Suk-yol to co-host a summit with foreign leaders at Camp David.
This is the first such summit since 2015 and is the inaugural of the Biden administration. He emphasized the significance of not only the bilateral relationships between the United States and its Asian allies but also the vital role of the U.S.-Japan-ROK trilateral relationship in ensuring national security and economic prosperity.
This summit is of notable significance, the second instance of a South Korean president visiting Camp David since former President Lee Myung-bak. The unique aspect of this event lies in the fact that the leaders of South Korea, the United States, and Japan will engage in separate trilateral discussions, moving away from the traditional meeting format during multilateral conferences.
Furthermore, Yoon, Biden, and Kishida are expected to come to an agreement to hold trilateral summits annually for further sustained cooperation. Additionally, steps will be taken to establish a state-of-the-art, advanced three-way hotline that will serve as a crucial communication channel during moments of crisis and uncertainty.
Meanwhile, an official from the South Korean presidential office addressed certain matters not included in the agenda of the Korea-US-Japan summit. Specifically, the issue of contaminated water discharge in Fukushima, Japan, will not be discussed during the summit.
The official emphasized the ongoing close bilateral discussions among allies, including South Korea, on this matter. Japan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will determine the future schedule of discussions on this issue.
Additionally, regarding controversies related to external pressure regarding the investigation into the death of Corporal Chae Su-geun of the Marine Corps, the official stated that they had not come across any relevant reports or information. The official focused on thoroughly reviewing the investigation’s results to determine their relevance in public protection and national security within the Ministry of Defense, aiming to prevent accidents and enhance military morale.