March 21, 2024

New CNAS Report Highlights Historic Opportunity for Trilateral Cooperation Between U.S., Japan, and South Korea

Washington, March 21, 2024 – Today, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released a new report, Forging a New Era of U.S.-Japan-South Korea Trilateral Cooperation: Key to a Stable, Secure Indo-Pacific by Lisa Curtis, Evan Wright, and Hannah Kelley. 

The report focuses on progress made in advancing cooperation among Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the United States since the historic trilateral summit held at Camp David in August 2023. It explores opportunities for expanding trilateral cooperation, particularly on cyber threats and in emerging technologies like biotechnology and quantum science.

The report also underscores the potential challenges that could derail future cooperation. For instance, the authors highlight that risks related to leadership changes, differing perceptions of threats among the three nations, and differences over how to balance economic security with maintaining open trade policies could all threaten future progress.

The authors highlight the key achievements and commitments from the summit and argue for new areas of deeper collaboration. They conclude the report with nine policy recommendations for expanding the trilateral initiative and seizing the moment in a new era of cooperation.

The measures include:

  • Continue to press for expanded trilateral cooperation within the UN;
  • Create an interagency working group to identify opportunities and gaps in coordination among different minilateral groups, including the U.S.-Japan-ROK trilateral, the Quad, the “Chip 4,” and the U.S.-Australia-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue;
  • Encourage trilateral cooperation beyond the Indo-Pacific;
  • Increase trilateral intelligence sharing to enhance collective maritime domain awareness;
  • Enhance trilateral contingency planning, especially evacuation of civilians;
  • Plan trilateral defense exercises that expand beyond traditional domains to include cyber and space;
  • Encourage trilateral cooperation to further Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) research and development to harness the technology’s economic potential;
  • Launch a trilateral biotech industry working group and begin negotiations on a trilateral biotechnology cooperation agreement; and
  • Build consensus both at home and with trilateral counterparts to operationalize the trade pillar of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

The report authors unpack these recommendations and the report during a virtual public event, Forging a New Era of U.S.-ROK-Japan Trilateral Cooperation on Thursday, March 28 at 8:00 a.m. ET. Register here.

Indo-Pacific Security

Forging a New Era of U.S.-Japan-South Korea Trilateral Cooperation

Executive Summary In August 2023, the leaders of Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the United States met for an unprecedented in-person summit at Camp David to expand an...

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