December 1, 2022

U.S., South Korea and Japan pledge to strengthen ties and tackle threat from North Korea

Biden hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan and President Yoon Suk-Yeol of South Korea, pulls aside Australian PM Anthony Albanese
Biden hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan and President Yoon Suk-Yeol of South Korea, pulls aside Australian PM Anthony Albanese
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The United States, South Korea and Japan pledged on Sunday to strengthen ties and tackle Indo-Pacific challenges, including the nuclear threat from North Korea.

“Today in Phnom Penh, Cambodia at the East Asia Summit, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan, President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea (ROK), and President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of the United States reaffirmed our trilateral partnership guided by shared values, driven by innovation, and committed to shared prosperity and security,” they wrote in a statement following their trilateral meeting. 

They condemned “DPRK’s unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches this year, including multiple ICBM launches, as well as a flurry of conventional military action that pose a grave threat to the peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.”

READ FULL Phnom Penh Statement on Trilateral Partnership for the Indo-Pacific

Today in Phnom Penh, Cambodia at the East Asia Summit, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan, President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea (ROK), and President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of the United States reaffirmed our trilateral partnership guided by shared values, driven by innovation, and committed to shared prosperity and security. The Leaders commended the unprecedented level of trilateral coordination. Together, in their second trilateral meeting this year, the Leaders resolved to forge still-closer trilateral links, in the security realm and beyond.

The Leaders recognize that challenges of the 21st century require closer cooperation among Japan, the ROK and the United States. The United States’ ironclad alliance commitments to the ROK and Japan and our close, enduring friendships are critical to the security and prosperity of our citizens, the region, and the world. Also, the Leaders concurred to work in a trilateral format at all levels of government to implement our approaches to the Indo-Pacific, a region of vital importance to global peace, security, and prosperity. The leaders will align our collective efforts in pursuit of a free and open Indo-Pacific, that is inclusive, resilient, and secure. 

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I. SECURE THE INDO-PACIFIC AND BEYOND

The Leaders strongly condemn DPRK’s unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches this year, including multiple ICBM launches, as well as a flurry of conventional military action that pose a grave threat to the peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. They reaffirm their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in accordance with United Nations Security Council (UNSC)resolutions. The Leaders urge the DPRK to abide by its obligations under these resolutions as well as its previous commitments and agreements and call on all UN Member States to fully implement all UNSC resolutions. They reaffirm that a DPRK nuclear test would be met with a strong and resolute response from the international community. Japan, the ROK, and the United States will coordinate sanctions and work together to close gaps in the international sanctions regime to ensure all relevant sanctions are fully enforced. The path to dialogue remains open toward peaceful and diplomatic resolution with the DPRK, and the Leaders call on the DPRK to return to negotiations.  To this end, President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida express support for the goal of the ROK’s “Audacious Initiative.” The leaders reaffirm a shared commitment to the immediate resolution of the abductions issue. Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden also express their support for the immediate release of the ROK citizens detained in the DPRK.

At the same time, the three countries will work together to strengthen deterrence. President Biden reiterated that the U.S. commitment to defend Japan and the ROK is ironclad and backed by the full range of capabilities, including nuclear. As the regional security environment grows more challenging,President Biden reaffirms that the U.S. commitment to reinforce extended deterrence to Japan and the ROK will only strengthen. Our recent joint exercises demonstrate our resolve to maintain peace and stability and defend the rules-based international order.  The Leaders intend to share DPRK missile warning data in real time to improve each country’s ability to detect and assess the threat posed by incoming missiles, a major step for deterrence, peace and stability.

The Leaders affirm their commitment to stand with Ukraine against Russia’s unprovoked and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine that has shaken the foundation of the international order. They recognize that the Indo-Pacific cannot be stable and secure while aggression rages anywhere; threats to territorial integrity and sovereignty undermine the fabric of the entire international order. They share condemnation in the strongest possible terms of Russia’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure and call for the immediate restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

They condemn Russia’s nuclear threats to coerce and intimidate and state unequivocally that any use of a nuclear weapon by Russia would be an act of hostility against humanity and Russia shall never use it under any circumstances. They share determination to ensure that no such acts are ever perpetrated anywhere including in the Indo-Pacific. In this regard, leaders also reject Russia’s false claims that Ukraine is preparing a radiological “dirty bomb.”

The Leaders strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in waters of the Indo-Pacific, including through unlawful maritime claims, militarization of reclaimed features, and coercive activities. The Leaders reiterated their firm commitment to the rule of law, including the freedom of navigation and overflight, consistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Prime Minister Kishida, President Yoon, and President Biden emphasize that their basic positions on Taiwan remain unchanged, and reiterate the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element of security and prosperity in the international community. 

II.  GROWING REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP 

The Leaders wholeheartedly reaffirm ASEAN centrality and unity and their support for the ASEAN-led regional architecture, including the East Asia Summit. They pledge to work closely with ASEAN partners to support robust implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, as well as to continue to align their own regional strategies with it. They condemn the coup in Myanmar and the Myanmar military’s brutal attacks on civilians, and commit to continue to support ASEAN’s efforts and to take action to press for implementation of the ASEAN Five Point Consensus, the immediate cessation of violence, the release of all those who are wrongfully detained, unfettered countrywide humanitarian access, and a swift return to democracy.

The Leaders emphasized their joint commitment to the prosperity, security, sustainability, and resilience of the Mekong sub-region and support for collaboration and coordination as development partners and members of the Friends of the Mekong group. Japan, the ROK and the United States, are working to support the Mekong sub-region’s economic and sustainable energy development, as well as promoting a water-secure and climate resilient Mekong River Basin. The Leaders reaffirm support for the sub-regional cooperation frameworks, including the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) to ensure sustainable development and promote coordination among Mekong sub-region member countries and development partners.  

The Leaders reaffirm their commitment to the Pacific Island countries, and the importance of working in genuine partnership with the Pacific in a transparent and effective manner, guided by the Pacific Island Forum’s 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. They commit to addressing key issues of concern for the Pacific Islands, including climate change; illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing; and economic development. They will look for opportunities to do so individually and together, including through the Partners in the Blue Pacific, and President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida welcome President Yoon’s intent to join the partnership. 

III. ECONOMIC PROSPERITY, TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP, AND TACKLING THE CLIMATE CRISIS

The Leaders emphasize the importance of trilateral cooperation to strengthen the rules-based economic order to enhance economic security and prosperity throughout the Indo-Pacific and the world. Prime Minister Kishida, President Yoon and President Biden are pleased to launch a dialogue among the three governments on economic security. Our countries will stand together to promote and protect our technology leadership, for the benefit of the region and the world. They will continue toensure secure and resilient supply chains, promote Data Free Flow with Trust, enhance trilateral, regional and like-minded cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, protect critical infrastructure and strengthen resilient and diverse supply chains of critical minerals to elevate environmental, social, and governance standards in the sector. The three countries will cooperate to advance innovation and deployment of emerging technologies including Artificial Intelligence, quantum information science and technology, biotechnology, and advanced communications, including use of open-RAN technology. They will coordinate implementation of their respective initiatives on semiconductor supply chain diversification, research and development, and workforce development. The three countries will stand as one against economic coercion and in favor of sustainable and transparent lending practices.

The Leaders commit to cooperate closely through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), based on the principles of openness, transparency, and inclusiveness. They concur inworking together to develop a comprehensive IPEF that will deepen economic engagement on priority issues, including the digital economy, resilient supply chains, clean energy, and other priorities geared toward promoting sustainable and inclusiveeconomic growth. Prime Minister Kishida and President Yoon look forward to President Biden’s hosting of APEC next year. To spur economic growth, the Leaders will take measures to empower women with equal opportunity and access to good jobs. The strength of our democracies and our economies depends on the full participation of women.

The three countries will also continue to help the Indo-Pacific region recover from COVID-19, and strengthen health security to prevent, prepare for, and respond to future pandemics. By aligning each of their efforts towards pandemic preparedness, they will work to ensure that the entire Indo-Pacific is better-equipped to confront future health threats.

The Leaders underscore the urgency of tackling the climate crisis, highlighted at the recent 27th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27).  The three countries will work domestically and with partners to enhance global ambition to accelerate growth of the clean energy economy, avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, and help lower- and middle- income countries build resilience to climate impacts.  All three countries joined the Net Zero Government Initiative at COP27, committing to achieving net-zero emissions from national government operations by no later than 2050. The leaders also highlight the importance of innovation and deployment of clean energy, such as nuclear power, next generation batteries, clean hydrogen and ammonia, and carbon capture and storage as essential to lowering emissions. 

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Prime Minister Kishida, President Yoon and President Biden affirm their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and express their confidence that their trilateral partnership will continue to benefit all its people. The leaders welcome their respective approaches to the Indo-Pacific, and agreed to be in solidarity in pursuit of a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive, resilient and secure.  The leaders agreed to closely cooperate in implementing their various Indo-Pacific Strategies.  

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