September 20, 2023

Domestic Politics Threaten Hard-Won Success in East Asia

On Aug. 18, the leaders of the United States, South Korea, and Japan met for their first stand-alone summit at Camp David. Simply gathering for a leaders’ meeting would have been significant enough, given the thawing of a previously frozen Seoul-Tokyo relationship. But U.S. President Joe Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida went far beyond a symbolic meeting.

As momentous and historic as the Camp David agreements were, this trilateral grouping is innately and structurally fragile

The joint statement that resulted was impressively detailed, and the plans for new cooperation both comprehensive and wide-ranging. The Camp David summit is a testament that the convergence of political wills and political capital can transcend deep-seated historical animosity and bring countries together on shared challenges. But lasting trilateral cooperation is still an uncertain prospect: Leadership changes, innate fragility in this a trilateral grouping, and wedge-driving tactics by Pyongyang and Beijing could derail the hard work put in by the governments of today.

Read the full article from Foreign Policy.

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