By Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik with V.C. Joy Cho
It appears that the Republic of Korea, the United States and Japan have entered a stage of an all-but ‘unprecedented’ harmony and win-win cooperation among the three countries.
Korea has had many Presidents who were friendly with the U.S. and Japan. However, in many respects President Yoon appears to top the list to the approval and welcome given by the majority of people, especially the established generation.
The three countries, according to reports, are seen to have adopted the "Spirit of Camp David" document to dramatically deepen the trilateral cooperation in various fields at their summit in Camp David, U.S., on Aug. 18, 2023.
President Yoon, U.S. President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida are discussing adopting the "Camp David spirit" as one of the summit's outcome documents, which could capture the values shared by the three countries and the direction of their cooperation, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
The trilateral summit will not only strengthen cooperation in traditional security areas, such as countering North Korea's nuclear program, but also in economic and security areas, to the point where it could develop into an “economic alliance" among the three Free World allies.
Many people in Korea and around the world predict that there will be a significant deepening of regional cooperation in various fields across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In this context, Korea is considering the adoption of a number of documents that set out the spirit and principles of cooperation as well as future directions.
Text of Joint Statement by the leaders of the three at Camp David follow:
We, the leaders of Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the United States, convened at Camp David to inaugurate a new era of trilateral partnership. We do so at a time of unparalleled opportunity for our countries and our citizens, and at a hinge point of history, when geopolitical competition, the climate crisis, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and nuclear provocations test us. This is a moment that requires unity and coordinated action from true partners, and it is a moment we intend to meet, together. Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States are determined to align our collective efforts because we believe our trilateral partnership advances the security and prosperity of all our people, the region, and the world. In this spirit, President Biden commended President Yoon and Prime Minister Kishida for their courageous leadership in transforming relations between Japan and the ROK. With the renewed bonds of friendship—and girded by the ironclad U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK alliances—each of our bilateral relationships is now stronger than ever. So too is our trilateral relationship.
On this historic occasion, we commit to expand our cooperation trilaterally and raise our shared ambition to a new horizon, across domains and across the Indo-Pacific and beyond. We will strengthen our economies, provide resilience and prosperity, support the free and open international order based on the rule of law, and bolster regional and global peace and security, especially as current and incoming members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). We will strengthen our coordination on promoting democracy and protecting human rights. And we will enhance strategic coordination between the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK alliances and bring our trilateral security cooperation to new heights. As we embark together in this new era, our shared values will be our guide and a free and open Indo-Pacific, in which our half-billion people are safe and prosperous, will be our collective purpose.
Today, we declare openly that we are united in a common purpose to strengthen our shared region. Our mandate is to ensure Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States are aligned in our objectives and in our actions, generating the common capacity required to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is thriving, connected, resilient, stable, and secure. Ours is a partnership built not just for our people but for the entire Indo-Pacific.
We announce our governments’ commitment to consult with each other in an expeditious manner to coordinate our responses to regional challenges, provocations, and threats that affect our collective interests and security. Through these consultations we intend to share information, align our messaging, and coordinate response actions. To this end we will improve our trilateral communication mechanism to facilitate regular and timely communication between our countries, including our national leadership. We will hold trilateral meetings between our leaders, foreign ministers, defense ministers, and national security advisors at least annually, complementing existing trilateral meetings between our respective foreign and defense ministries. We will also hold the first trilateral meeting between our finance ministers as well as launch a new commerce and industry ministers track that will meet annually. We will also launch an annual Trilateral Indo-Pacific Dialogue to coordinate implementation of our Indo-Pacific approaches and to continually identify new areas for common action. Recognizing the increased threat posed by foreign information manipulation and misuse of surveillance technology, we will also discuss ways to coordinate our efforts to counter disinformation. We welcome the trilateral development policy dialogue planned in October to advance concrete discussions for deepening development policy coordination. We are resolute in our determination to uphold regional security, strengthen Indo-Pacific engagement, and promote common prosperity.
We wholeheartedly reaffirm ASEAN centrality and unity and our support for the ASEAN-led regional architecture. We are committed to working closely with ASEAN partners to support robust implementation and mainstreaming of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. We are collectively working to support sustainable energy and promoting water security and climate resilience in the Mekong River Basin. We reaffirm, too, our support of Pacific Island countries and intend to work in genuine partnership with the Pacific in a transparent and effective manner, consistent with the Pacific Way, that strengthens individual countries and the Pacific region. We plan to coordinate regional capacity-building efforts to ASEAN and Pacific Island countries to ensure that they are mutually reinforcing and maximally beneficial to our valued partners, including through capacity building efforts in cybersecurity and financial integrity and our new Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation Framework.
We share concerns about actions inconsistent with the rules-based international order, which undermine regional peace and prosperity. Recalling the publicly announced position of each of our countries regarding the dangerous and aggressive behavior supporting unlawful maritime claims that we have recently witnessed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the South China Sea, we strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the waters of the Indo-Pacific. In particular, we steadfastly oppose the militarization of reclaimed features; the dangerous use of coast guard and maritime militia vessels; and coercive activities. In addition, we are concerned about illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. We reiterate our firm commitment to international law, including the freedom of navigation and overflight, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The July 2016 award in the South China Sea arbitration sets out the legal basis for the peaceful resolution of maritime conflicts between the parties to that proceeding. We reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element of security and prosperity in the international community. There is no change in our basic positions on Taiwan, and we call for a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.
Furthermore, we reaffirm our commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions and urge the DPRK to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. We call on all UN Member States to fully implement all relevant UNSC resolutions. We strongly condemn the DPRK’s unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches, including multiple intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches and conventional military actions that pose a grave threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. We express concern regarding the DPRK’s illicit cyber activities that fund its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs. We announce the establishment of a new trilateral working group to drive our cooperation, including with the international community, to combat DPRK cyber threats and block its cyber-enabled sanctions evasion. Japan, the ROK, and the United States remain committed to reestablishing dialogue with the DPRK with no preconditions. We also commit to strengthening cooperation to promote respect for human rights in the DPRK and reaffirm a shared commitment to the immediate resolution of the issues of abductees, detainees, and unrepatriated prisoners of war. We express support for the goal of the ROK’s Audacious Initiative and support a unified Korean Peninsula that is free and at peace.
The United States unequivocally reaffirms that its extended deterrence commitments to both Japan and the ROK are ironclad and backed by the full range of U.S. capabilities. Our three countries announce today that we intend to hold annual, named, multi-domain trilateral exercises on a regular basis to enhance our coordinated capabilities and cooperation. In mid-August, our three countries conducted a maritime ballistic missile defense warning test for the real-time sharing of missile warning data to demonstrate our ability to deter and respond to the DPRK’s advancing nuclear and missile threats more effectively. By the end of 2023, we intend to operationalize our sharing of missile warning data on the DPRK in real-time in fulfillment of commitments reflected in the November 2022 Phnom Penh Statement, and our countries have taken initial steps to test our technical capabilities for real-time sharing of missile warning data. We are committed to pursuing enhanced ballistic missile defense cooperation to counter DPRK nuclear and missile threats. We reaffirm that achieving a world without nuclear weapons is a common goal for the international community, and we continue to make every effort to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.
Even as we deepen our security partnership, we will also maintain focus on building robust cooperation in the economic security and technology spheres, leveraging the unique capabilities that each of our countries brings to bear. In implementing our commitments in the Phnom Penh Statement, our national security teams have met twice under the auspices of the Trilateral Economic Security Dialogue to advance our shared objectives. We are now cooperating trilaterally on supply chain resilience, particularly on semiconductors and batteries, as well as on technology security and standards, clean energy and energy security, biotechnology, critical minerals, pharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and scientific research.
Going forward, our countries are committed to working closely together to launch early warning system pilots to expand information sharing and enhance policy coordination on possible disruptions to global supply chains as well as to better prepare us to confront and overcome economic coercion. We will continue to develop the Partnership for Resilient and Inclusive Supply-chain Enhancement (RISE) to help developing countries play larger roles in the supply chains of clean energy products. We will also enhance cooperation on technology protection measures to prevent the cutting-edge technologies we develop from being illegally exported or stolen abroad. To that end, we will conduct inaugural exchanges between the U.S. Disruptive Technology Strike Force and Japanese and ROK counterparts to deepen information-sharing and coordination across our enforcement agencies. We will also continue to strengthen trilateral cooperation on export controls to prevent our technologies from being diverted for military or dual-use capabilities that could potentially threaten international peace and security. In tandem with technology protection measures, we will bolster combined and collaborative scientific and technological innovation, including by pursuing new trilateral National Labs cooperation and expanding trilateral collaborative research and development and personnel exchanges, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) sectors.
In addition, we seek to expand trilateral cooperation on open radio access network (RAN) and further enhance trilateral dialogue on space security cooperation, particularly regarding threats in the space domain, national space strategies, and the responsible use of space. We acknowledge the crucial role of AI as a transformative technology and affirm our respective efforts to help shape international governance on AI and ensure safe, secure, and trustworthy AI, in line with our shared democratic values and as the basis for international discussions on frontier AI systems.
We are fully committed to continuing to eliminate barriers to economic participation and build diverse, accessible, and inclusive economies in which all our people—including women and marginalized groups—can succeed. We will work to further strengthen our people-to-people ties, including among our young people and students. We will continue our cooperation toward the successful conclusion of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) negotiations, and President Yoon and Prime Minister Kishida welcome the United States’ hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum this year. President Yoon and President Biden applaud Japan’s strong and principled leadership at the G7 Hiroshima Summit to respond to challenges that the international community is facing. Together, we are committed to accelerate the clean energy transition; mobilize financing for quality infrastructure and resilient supply chains, including through trilateral collaboration among our development finance institutions as well as through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII); and promote sustainable economic growth and financial stability, as well as orderly and well-functioning financial markets. We will continue our ambitious agenda to evolve the multilateral development banks to make them more responsive to shared global challenges. The Leaders committed to explore delivering new World Bank Group concessional resources and headroom to fight poverty by addressing global challenges in line with its forthcoming concessionality framework and enhancing resources for the poorest countries, including crisis response.
We are united in our support for Ukraine. We reaffirm our commitment to stand with Ukraine against Russia’s unprovoked and brutal war of aggression that has shaken the foundation of the international order. We commit to continue providing assistance to Ukraine, imposing coordinated, robust sanctions on Russia, and accelerating the reduction of dependency on Russian energy. We believe the lasting lesson from this catastrophic war of aggression must be the international community’s abiding will to uphold the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. We reaffirm our view that when these foundational principles are rejected anywhere, they
represent a threat to our region. We are unified in our intent to ensure that no such egregious acts are ever perpetrated again.
We depart Camp David with a shared resolve and optimism for the future. The opportunity that lies before us was not guaranteed—it was embraced. It is the product of a determination, fiercely held by each of us, that if we are to deliver a peaceful and prosperous future for our people, and the people of the Indo-Pacific, we must more often stand together. Today, we declare that a new chapter in our trilateral relationship has begun. We are aligned in our vision; undaunted in the face of our era’s greatest challenges; and, most of all, united in our belief that Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States can meet those challenges together, now and in the future.