The trilateral meeting will address joint military cooperation in line with Washington’s anti-China agenda.
The foreign ministers of the US, South Korea, and Japan held high-level talks in preparation for an upcoming trilateral leaders summit, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, noting that the discussions were conducted via an online conference.
Driving the event- Washington has been working to revive international bloc politics as part of its anti-China efforts.
The US plan constitutes the hyper-militarization of its allies and the formation of several global security pacts based on the nature of the objectives and required capabilities.
Along these lines, Washington is pushing both its allies to establish a NATO-like coalition in the Asia-Pacific region.
A similar security model has already materialized after the US, UK, and Australia announced in September 2021 establishing a military bloc – AUKUS – which aims to boost nuclear cooperation between its members among other fields.
Where are we now- While Seoul and Tokyo have no bilateral defense agreements, they are currently managing defense integration and coordination through the United States.
The summit, which is scheduled to be held on Friday, August 18, will be a historic opportunity to develop trilateral collaboration, the ministry said.
“The ministers reaffirmed that the situation around the three countries is becoming increasingly tense, so the trilateral cooperation between Japan, the United States, and South Korea is becoming increasingly important,” it added.
But the growing coordination is not “only in connection with North Korea, but also to maintain peace and stability in the region and beyond, as well as for realizing [the concept of] a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
The build up- In the past few years, trilateral military exercises saw a huge leap in both number and volume.
The three countries conducted drills on all levels, ranging from cyber training to all types of combat missions and even tabletop nuclear exercises.
The presidents of the three allies announced plans in June to establish a system for real-time military and intelligence information sharing before the end of 2023.
Earlier this week, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol labeled Japan, the former colonial ruler of South Korea, as a “partner” sharing common values and interests.
What to keep an eye on- The two Asian countries are expected to establish more formal ties later this year as tensions between the US and Beijing continue to grow in the South China Sea region.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is planning to travel to the US on Thursday to partake in the meeting, during which he will reportedly meet with US President Joe Biden and agree on a joint project to develop an interceptor missile to counter the hypersonic weapons.
The system’s main target would be to counter hypersonic missiles produced by Russia, China, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Responding to the increasing provocations, including raising nuclear tensions, Pyongyang warned the US and its allies against their “dangerous war games,” which “may incite an unprecedented nuclear war in the Korean peninsula.”
“If the United States of America attempts to use armed forces against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the former will face an unimaginable and unforeseen crisis,” Pyongyang’s National Defense Minister said.