The Korea Herald


Joint defense initiatives to be unveiled at Camp David: report

By Choi Si-young

Published : Aug. 16, 2023 - 16:51

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Clockwise from top left: The US, Japanese and South Korean flags. (123rf) Clockwise from top left: The US, Japanese and South Korean flags. (123rf)

The US, South Korea and Japan will roll out joint initiatives on defense and technology at a Camp David summit in Maryland on Friday, according to a report.

Citing senior US officials, Reuters said Wednesday that the gathering US President Joe Biden is hosting at the presidential retreat will lead to a three-way hotline and mutual understanding about regional responsibilities amid North Korea’s aggression and China’s influence.

“It’s too much to ask -- it’s a bridge too far -- to fully expect a three-way security framework among each of us,” said one of the US officials, referring to speculation over a trilateral security arrangement, something close to collective defense.

Washington, which has mutual defense treaties with Seoul and Tokyo, separately, is reportedly seeking to have the South and Japan come to terms with saying in a joint statement that they will consult each other should either side be attacked. But President Yoon’s national security adviser has dismissed the possibility.

The US-led coalition is expected to launch steps on joint military exercises aimed at curbing North Korea’s missile advances. The isolated country still defies United Nations Security Council resolutions placed over its nuclear weapons programs.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, President Yoon Suk Yeol said the world would never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons power.

South Korea, Yoon added, is open to separate consultations among Seoul, Washington and Tokyo over what is known as extended deterrence. It refers to the US commitment to mobilize forces including nuclear weapons to deter adversaries like the North from using aggression to achieve its military and political aims.

At a White House summit in April, Yoon and Biden agreed to enhance the deployment of US military assets such as nuclear-missile submarines and set up a Nuclear Consultative Group to give Seoul a bigger say in how Washington manages its nuclear assets. The NCG meeting took place last month for the first time in Seoul.

Pyongyang called the meeting a “nuclear war tool,” rejecting offers of dialogue. The North has demanded concessions from the US before it returns to disarmament talks.

The Camp David summit is also likely to discuss peace and stability on Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island the US supports. China claims it as its own, saying it could take over the island if necessary.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it opposes countries forming “small cliques” and confrontational actions. Beijing says the US bringing submarines near the Korean Peninsula undermines nonproliferation initiatives.