The U.S.-Japan-South Korea Partnership Is Still Light on Substance

The U.S.-Japan-South Korea Partnership Is Still Light on Substance
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio pose for a photograph at Camp David, in Maryland, Aug. 18, 2023 (photo by Masanori Genko for the Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images).

In August 2023, U.S. President Joe Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for a summit at Camp David, where they agreed on a framework for trilateral cooperation that was said to have inaugurated a “new era” in relations among the three countries. Biden said that the meeting “made history” and praised his counterparts for their “political courage” in improving ties. Leaving aside the hyperbole, the meeting and its outcomes are significant, but how meaningful they end up being will depend on the three sides’ ability to make full use of the cooperative mechanisms they agreed to implement.

The Camp David Principles, as the framework is known, are a broad set of agreements and initiatives intended to institutionalize cooperation among the three countries. They broadly emphasize “a free and open Indo-Pacific based on a respect for international law, shared norms, and common values,” and strongly oppose “any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.”

Specifically, the three sides agreed to establish a hotline to share information and coordinate responses to “regional challenges, provocations, and threats” affecting their “collective interests and security”; to launch a trilateral working group to coordinate and improve cooperation on challenges like sanctions evasion, cybersecurity and more; and to conduct annual trilateral military exercises. They also announced agreement on deeper cooperation in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, space and clean energy, and there are plans to expand joint research in science, technology, engineering and math.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review