WASHINGTON — The United States, Japan and South Korea are expected to announce plans for expanded military cooperation on ballistic missile defenses and technology development amid growing concern over North Korea’s nuclear program when the countries’ leaders will gather at Camp David for a summit on Friday, according to two senior Biden administration officials.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss planning for the summit, said the announcements will be part of a wide range of initiatives to be unveiled as President Joe Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. for the one-day gathering at the Presidential Retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains.
The summit is the first Biden has held during his presidency at Camp David and comes amid a thaw in the historically complicated relationship between Japan and South Korea. Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
The White House is looking to build on recent diplomatic momentum and aims to use the summit to “institutionalize, deepen and thicken the habits of cooperation” between the three countries as they face an increasingly complicated Pacific, a said a manager.
Earlier on Monday, North Korean state media reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had ordered a drastic increase in the production of missiles and other weapons. Kim’s push to produce more weapons comes as US officials believe Russia’s defense minister recently discussed with North Korea the possibility of selling more weapons to Russia for its war with the Ukraine.
Japan and South Korea quickly forged closer ties as they deepened their three-way security cooperation with Washington in response to growing regional threats from North Korea and an increasingly assertive China.
Ties have improved rapidly since March after South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s government announced an initiative to resolve disputes over wartime compensation for Korean forced laborers.
Japan last month reinstated South Korea as a favored nation with expedited trade status, ending a four-year economic row that was further strained during their bitter historic disputes. The three countries also announced in June that they would start sharing real-time early warning data on North Korean missile launches by the end of the year.
Biden plans to take Kishida and Yoon for a walk on the Camp David grounds and will host the leaders for an intimate lunch, officials said. While Biden will hold one-on-one conversations with the two leaders, the three leaders will spend most of the visit together, the officials said.
An official said the meeting at Camp David was meant to convey that the progress made between South Korea and Japan was a “big deal” and that it was essential that the relationship “only move forward”.
Leaders are expected to be dressed in shirt sleeves with no ties for the private portions of Friday’s Camp David meetings. The leaders are also expected to participate in a joint press conference at the end of the summit.
Camp David was the scene of significant diplomatic moments.
In the midst of World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in the retreat – then known as Shangri-La – to plan the Italian campaign that would bring Benito Mussolini out of the war.
President Jimmy Carter hosted Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in September 1978 for talks that established a framework for a historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in March 1979.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton brought then-Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in an unsuccessful bid for an agreement to end the conflict. .
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