To address North Korea’s nuclear threat, the president of South Korea has called for deeper security cooperation with the U.S. and Japan, stating on Tuesday that his imminent summit with the U.S. and Japanese leaders at Camp David will “set a new milestone in trilateral cooperation.”
It will be the first time that the leaders of the three countries will convene specifically for a trilateral summit, as opposed to international meetings. In the midst of complex regional challenges such as North Korea’s advancing nuclear armament and Washington’s strategic rivalry with Beijing, this indicates that they are sincere about strengthening their ties.
During their summit on Friday in Maryland, President Joe Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are expected to announce plans for expanded military cooperation on ballistic missile defense and technology development, according to two senior Biden administration officials.
Yoon said in a televised speech in Seoul on Tuesday that the summit “”will set a new milestone in trilateral cooperation contributing to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The speech commemorated the 78th anniversary of Korea’s liberation in 1945 from Japan’s 35-year colonial authority. Former South Korean presidents have frequently used Liberation Day speeches to call for Japan’s repentance for its colonial activities. Yoon, a conservative who has advocated resolving historical grievances as a means of enhancing Seoul-Washington-Tokyo cooperation, instead explained why improved ties with Japan were required.
Yoon stated that Japan’s provision of seven rear facilities to the U.S.-led U.N. Command serves as “the greatest deterrent” against an invasion of South Korea by North Korea. He stated that a North Korean invasion would provoke an immediate, automatic intervention by the United Nations Command and that Japan’s bases possess the required land, sea, and air capabilities.
“As partners that cooperate on security and the economy, South Korea and Japan will be able to jointly contribute to peace and prosperity across the globe while collaborating and exchanging in a future-oriented manner,” Yoon said.
On the Korean Peninsula and in the region, he stated that Seoul-Washington-Tokyo security cooperation is expanding in importance.
“In order to fundamentally block North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, the Republic of Korea, the United States and Japan must closely cooperate on reconnaissance assets and share North Korean nuclear weapon and missile data in real time,” Yoon said.
Tripartite Pledge for Enhanced Missile Warning Collaboration
In November, when they met in Cambodia on the margins of a regional conference, Yoon, Biden, and Kishida stated that they intended to share North Korea missile warning data to improve each nation’s ability to detect and assess the threat posed by incoming missiles. In June, their defense ministers acknowledged efforts to activate a mechanism for sharing data by the end of the year.
The summit at Camp David is anticipated to infuriate North Korea, which has argued that U.S. efforts to strengthen military cooperation with South Korea and Japan compel it to bolster its own military capability. The North Korean government views U.S.-led military exercises on and near the Korean Peninsula as an invasion rehearsal.
China, which is extremely sensitive to what it perceives to be a concerted effort by other nations against it, condemned the summit.
“China opposes relevant countries forming various cliques and their practices of exacerbating confrontation and jeopardizing other countries’ strategic security,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a briefing on Tuesday. “We hope the countries concerned will go with the trend of the times and do something conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity.”
South Korea has maintained that its efforts to bolster its alliance with the United States and participate in regional initiatives led by the United States will not target China, its largest trading partner.
Since the North has openly threatened to use nuclear weapons in conflicts with its adversaries and conducted approximately 100 missile tests since the beginning of last year, concerns about its nuclear program have increased. Many of the missiles were nuclear-capable, putting South Korea and Japan within striking distance of the United States, and some of them could potentially reach the American mainland. Together, South Korea and Japan host approximately 80,000 U.S. personnel.
In response to North Korea’s missile tests, the United States and South Korea have increased their joint military exercises and resumed trilateral training with Japan.
Since 1994, South Korea, the United States, and Japan have held a total of 12 trilateral leaders’ meetings, but all of them occurred on the margins of international conferences, according to South Korea’s presidential office.
In recent months, relations between Seoul and Tokyo have deteriorated substantially, prompting this week’s trilateral summit. Yoon made a significant move toward resolving bilateral disputes over colonial-era Korean forced laborers in March, despite opposition from some victims and his liberal rivals at home. Yoon has argued that Seoul and Tokyo face similar problems, including the intensifying U.S.-China rivalry and global supply chain issues, as well as North Korea’s nuclear program.
Source: Fox News