"Today, our three leaders confirmed the will and possibility of 'trilateral cooperation toward a new era,'" President Yoon Suk-yeol said at a joint press conference after the trilateral summit of Korea, the United States and Japan at Camp David, the U.S. Presidential retreat, on Nov. 18 (local time). This was reported by Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo and other Korean-language newspapers today.
With the decision to regularize at least one summit meeting each year, the three leaders publicly signaled their desire to host the 2024 summit in the Republic of Korea (south).
President Joe Biden said, "Our unity is unshakable and our resolve is unparalleled," and added: "This is not about a day, a week, a month, but about the decades of relationship we are building."
At the three-party meeting, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his sympathies for the recent devastation caused by the massive wildfires on the U.S. island of Maui, Hawaii, and also expressed his "heartfelt condolences" over the passage of President Yoo's father three days before the meeting.
Prime Minister Kishida said, "Now is the time to blossom the potential of strategic cooperation between Korea, the U.S., and Japan, strengthen cooperation between the U.S.-Japan alliance and the Korea-U.S. alliance, and raise security cooperation between Korea, the U.S., and Japan to a new level.”
During the Q&A session, President Yoon was asked about the trilateral response to North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations. "The most core and symbolic area of the trilateral cooperation system is security cooperation," he said, adding, "Any provocations and attacks against the three countries will make the crystalline structure of our trilateral security system stronger and more solid."
Asked why the three countries showed respect for the IAEA report despite domestic opposition to the Japanese government's plan to discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, Yoon said: "The contaminated water issue was not on the agenda of today's meeting. I think the health and safety of each country's people and all mankind should be considered first, because if there is any impact, the contaminated water could affect many countries and peoples across the Pacific Ocean," he said.
Yoon then added: "We have confidence in the results of the internationally recognized IAEA inspections. However, we believe that a responsible and transparent inspection by the international community, including Japan and Korea, is necessary to ensure that the IAEA inspection and the planned (contaminated water) treatment are carried out as planned." At this point, Prime Minister Kishida appeared to nod his head two or three times.
Earlier in the day, Yoon arrived at Camp David on the SH-3, a helicopter sent by President Biden, at around 9:20 a.m. He stayed there for more than seven hours until he left at 4:34 p.m.
President Yoon began his day at 9:45 a.m. at Camp David's Aspen Lodge, where he met with President Biden for a 15-minute walk. The two leaders then held a 22-minute bilateral meeting at 10 a.m., followed by a trilateral meeting that included Prime Minister Kishida of Japan at 11:30 a.m. for about 65 minutes at Laurel Lodge.
The three leaders smiled and posed for photos in front of the sign pointing to Camp David. After the trilateral meeting, the three leaders held a one-hour working luncheon at Aspen Lodge, and Yoon and Kishida held a bilateral meeting at 2 p.m. for about 20 minutes.
During the meeting, the leaders assessed that bilateral cooperation in various fields is progressing at a rapid pace, driven by efforts to improve bilateral relations. They also agreed to further enhance cooperation among the three countries, as well as between Korea, the United States to counter the escalating North Korean nuclear and missile threats.