The US, Japan and South Korea are aiming to establish a three-way hot line following a summit among the countries’ leaders this week, a senior White House official said.
(Bloomberg) — The US, Japan and South Korea are aiming to establish a three-way hot line following a summit among the countries’ leaders this week, a senior White House official said.
“We’re going to invest in technology to have a three-way hotline,” Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant to President Joe Biden and coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs said in Washington ahead of the summit. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol are set to depart Thursday for the meeting at the Camp David presidential retreat in rural Maryland on Friday.
The US has long sought to bolster relations with its two major northeast Asian allies to better confront regional challenges from China and a nuclear-armed North Korea. That effort has often been hampered by ill feelings between Seoul and Tokyo over Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945.
Campbell added the summit would be made an annual event, and national security and foreign minister-level preparatory talks would be held. “We are going to make commitments to dialog and engage in critical circumstances,” he said.
Ties between Japan and South Korea have been rebuilt since Yoon took office in May 2022, with him taking a harsher stance against North Korea and shelving decades-old disputes with his neighbor.
In a written interview with Bloomberg this week, he said he would be open to trilateral dialogue on nuclear deterrence with Japan and the US. Yoon also said the three countries intend to operationalize this year their sharing of missile warning data on North Korea in real time.
China’s state-run Global Times on Wednesday cited Chinese experts as accusing the three countries of forming a “mini-NATO” structure that would be destructive to regional security.
“What President Yoon and Prime Minister Kishida have done has defied expectations,” Campbell said, adding he expected the relationship to overcome what would “inevitably be moments of difficulty” in the future.
While changes of government in South Korea have often overturned progress in ties with Japan, Campbell also appeared to allude to a potential change of government in the US, where former President Donald Trump placed little emphasis on maintaining relationships with traditional allies.
“We’re seeking not just to lock in Japan and South Korea for the future, but the US as well,” he said. “We will continue to remain engaged.”
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