The US, Japan, and South Korea on Friday announced a series of steps to boost their trilateral military alliance as the leaders of the three nations met at the presidential retreat at Camp David.
The effort to reconcile ties between Tokyo and Seoul and boost military cooperation is part of the Biden administration’s strategy against China in the Asia Pacific. The trilateral alliance is also aimed at North Korea, as the US and South Korea are involved in a series of tit-for-tat escalations with Pyongyang.
According to the White House, the three nations agreed to a “multi-year trilateral exercise plan.” The plan involves a “multi-year trilateral framework that includes annual, named, multi-domain trilateral exercises, which will constitute an unprecedented level of trilateral defense cooperation.”
The US, Japan, and South Korea agreed to cooperate on ballistic missile defense to improve detection of North Korean missiles, form a working group on North Korean cyber activities, enhance information sharing, and work together to “counter foreign information manipulation.”
The meeting between President Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol marked the first stand-alone trilateral summit between the three nations’ leaders. They announced plans to hold an annual trilateral leaders summit, an annual summit between other high-level officials, and an annual “Trilateral Indo-Pacific Dialogue.”
The trilateral cooperation is just one aspect of the US’s multi-pronged effort to build alliances in the region to prepare for a future war with China. The efforts include the AUKUS military pact between the US, Australia, and Britain, increasing cooperation with the Quad, encouraging Japan-Australia ties, and beefing up the overall US military presence in the Asia Pacific.