White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Friday announced a new multiyear military exercise plan involving the U.S., Japan and South Korea in response to provocations from China and North Korea.
Speaking ahead of President Biden’s daylong summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Camp David, Sullivan said the three countries have committed to annual meetings to discuss a united agenda on regional security in the Indo-Pacific, technology, economic partnership and more.
“We’re opening a new era, and we’re making sure that era has staying power,” Sullivan told reporters.
“We’re announcing significant steps to enhance trilateral security cooperation in the region in the face of North Korean provocations, including a multiyear exercise plan, deeper coordination and integration on ballistic missile defense, and improving information sharing and crisis communication,” he said.
The U.S., Japan and South Korea will join together Friday on a new “duty to consult” commitment arranged by the Biden administration. The pledge is intended to acknowledge that the three countries share “fundamentally interlinked security environments” and that a threat to one of the nations is “a threat to all,” a senior Biden administration official told the Associated Press.
Under the pledge, the three countries agree to consult, share information and align their messaging with each other in the face of a threat or crisis, the official said. The commitment does not infringe on each country’s right to defend itself under international law, nor does it alter existing bilateral treaty commitments between the U.S. and Japan and the U.S. and South Korea, the official added. The United States has more than 80,000 troops based in the two countries.
Sullivan called the meeting — the first summit held at the Camp David presidential retreat during Biden’s presidency — a “historic” event that “sets the conditions for a more peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific and a stronger and more secure United States of America.”
The summit comes one month after the defense chiefs of Russia and North Korea met in Pyongyang and agreed to greater military cooperation. Defense analysts have suggested the latest Hwasong-19 intercontinental ballistic missile developed by North Korea incorporates Russian technology.
“We are concerned about the relationship, including the technology and security relationship between Russia and the DPRK,” Sullivan said. While he was unable to confirm reports that North Korea’s new ICBM has Russian fingerprints, Sullivan did say the U.S. intelligence community is “taking a hard look” at it. “As we have seen, Russia has been seeking to get material for its war effort in Ukraine from Pyongyang, from North Korea, and as they have done with other countries like Iran, when they asked they usually also offer some types of security cooperation in return.”
Sullivan observed that North Korea is subject to multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and said that Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has a “heightened responsibility to comply with those Security Council resolutions.”
He added that he is not suggesting that Russia is violating those resolutions. “And to the extent of it not doing so, including with respect to ballistic missile defense technology and other things, Russia would be, you know, sort of flouting and in flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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