The White House has rejected claims that the US is seeking to create a “NATO for the Pacific” as a means to target China. This comes after President Joe Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol at Camp David for a summit focused on security cooperation between the three countries. During the summit, several new initiatives were agreed upon in the military, economic, and technological spheres.
Speaking at a joint press conference, President Biden emphasized the importance of the summit, stating that it symbolizes a new era of cooperation between the US, South Korea, and Japan. He assured that the US commitment to these two countries remains strong and unwavering.
The US president further revealed that the three allies will enhance their trilateral defense collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region. This will include annual multi-domain military exercises that will build on existing periodic wargames in the area. These exercises have previously drawn criticism from Chinese and North Korean officials.
During a media briefing, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan clarified that the trilateral partnership should not be viewed as a “NATO for the Pacific.” He emphasized that this summit is not against any specific country and that the US, Japan, and South Korea will continue to underscore this point.
Although President Biden insisted that the summit was not about China, he and the other leaders mentioned China repeatedly when speaking to reporters. In a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Kishida, President Biden expressed the need to combat Beijing’s “dangerous behavior in the South China Sea” and emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
When asked about the potential for an economic cold war with China due to Japan’s increased military ties with the US, Prime Minister Kishida emphasized that Japan would continue to cooperate with China on common challenges while also requesting responsible conduct.
President Yoon outlined the specifics of the new defense cooperation, stating that the three allies will establish a framework to respond to attacks on any of their countries. Additionally, they will share real-time information about North Korean ballistic missile launches and conduct systematic training and drills on a regular basis.
In summary, the recent summit between the US, South Korea, and Japan aimed to strengthen security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. The leaders of these countries dismissed claims that their collaboration is aimed at targeting China, emphasizing that it is not a “NATO for the Pacific.” While concerns about Beijing were mentioned during the summit, the leaders also highlighted the importance of cooperation and responsible conduct with China. The new defense cooperation will involve regular military exercises and information sharing to enhance regional security and respond to threats.