Lazy eyes listen
The US is not attempting to establish a “NATO for the Pacific” in order to target China, according to the White House, after President Joe Biden hailed a “new era” of security cooperation with South Korea and Japan.
On Friday, Biden welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol at Camp David for the first summit of its kind, during which the heads of state agreed on a number of new projects in the military, economic, and scientific realms.
“This is the first summit I’ve hosted at Camp David, and I can think of no more fitting location to symbolize our new era of cooperation,” Biden said during a joint press conference, adding that Washington’s commitment to Seoul and Tokyo is “ironclad.”
The president of the United States went on to say that the three partners would strengthen their “trilateral defense collaboration” in the Indo-Pacific area, including through “annual multi-domain military exercises.” The drills would build on existing wargames in the area, which have enraged both Chinese and North Korean leaders.
Earlier in the day, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was asked whether the three-way collaboration would be “the beginning of some kind of mini-NATO for the Pacific,” but he declined.
“It is clearly not a NATO for the Pacific.” That has already been said. “We will continue to emphasize this, as will Japan and Korea,” Sullivan said, adding that Friday’s summit was “not against anyone.”
Despite Biden’s insistence that the discussion was “not about China,” the president and his allied counterparts repeatedly referred to the People’s Republic in comments to reporters. Earlier in the day, during a one-on-one meeting with Kishida, Biden stated that the two leaders would work together to resist Beijing’s “dangerous behavior in the South China Sea,” emphasizing the importance of “peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
When asked if Tokyo’s increased military relations with Washington will lead to a “economic cold war” with Beijing, Kishida said Japan would continue to collaborate with China on “common challenges” and “strongly request responsible conduct.”