Biden, Japanese and South Korean leaders pledge unity at Camp David summit

August 18, 2023

President Biden on Friday hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol at Camp David for the first-ever stand-alone summit between the three nations’ leaders. 

“If I seem like I’m happy, it’s because I am. This has been a great, great meeting,” Biden began at a joint news conference. 

Biden also thanked both Kishida and Yoon for their nations’ pledged aid to Hawaii in the wake of this past week’s devastating wildfires.

The governments of South Korea and Japan each promised $2 million apiece to aid in the rebuilding and recovery on the island of Maui.

Minutes ahead of the three leaders’ joint news conference, the White House released a list of principles to which they agreed at the Camp David Summit.

Among them is an “unwavering” commitment to support Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) centrality and unity. The leaders are also “determined to work closely with Pacific Island countries and the Pacific Islands Forum as the region’s leading institution, consistent with the Pacific Way.”

Further, the leaders “stand united in our commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)”—North Korea—in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The leaders also reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait “as an indispensable element of security and prosperity in the international community.”

That pledge comes as China has saber-rattling against its self-governing neighbor, Taiwan. The U.S. has suspected for some time that China is planning to invade Taiwan, though it has been watching and waiting to see how Russia fairs in its invasion of Ukraine before going forth with an assault against the island nation, just one hundred miles off China’s coast. 

Biden, Kishida and Yoon also pledged “open and fair economic practices” along with cooperation on emerging technologies and combating climate change.

President Biden called for the Camp David summit with the aim of warming relations between the two nations in the Asia-Pacific region. Their relations have been historically strained, overshadowed by Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

“From this moment on, Camp David will be remembered as a historic place where the Republic of Korea, the United States and Japan proclaimed that we will bolster the rules-based international order and play key roles to enhance regional security and prosperity based on our shared values of freedom, human rights and rule of law,” said Yoon at Friday’s joint news conference. 

Kishida, meanwhile, said, “Here at Camp David numerous historical meetings have taken place, and it is a huge honor to have printed a fresh page in its history with this meeting.”

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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