President Joe Biden is currently hosting South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Camp David.
While there’s a long list of geopolitical issues that the three democratic leaders can discuss, expect China and North Korea to be the two main topics.
What Happened: A pledge between the three nations was taken on Friday, Aug. 18. “Our countries will be stronger, and our world will be safer,” Biden said Friday afternoon, thanking Yeol and Kishida for their “political courage.”
The so-called “duty to consult” commitment is being hailed as a joint effort among the three countries to strengthen Asian-Pacific relations amid escalating tensions with both North Korea and China.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues to conduct long-range missile tests, which China refuses to rebuke. The Chinese military has also been conducting exercises near Taiwan, which is an independent country despite China’s calling it a province. Just this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping released a propaganda video suggesting he’s prepared for a conflict.
Why It Matters: The White House has called the summit “historic” since it’s the first time Biden has invited foreign leaders to the 125-acre retreat in Maryland, according to The Hill.
And the stakes are high. South Korea and Japan currently have strong economic ties, but diplomatic friction persists due to a long and complicated history between the two nations for well over a century.
Smoothing things over offers a display of unity and sends a message to Beijing.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reportedly decried the meeting: “The international community has its own judgment as to who is creating contradictions and increasing tensions… Attempts to form various exclusive groups and cliques and to bring bloc confrontation into the Asia-Pacific region are unpopular and will definitely spark vigilance and opposition in the countries of the region.”
The meeting also comes on the heels of Biden’s most recent efforts to target China’s strength in the tech world, specifically with semiconductors, by restricting certain investments.
Earlier this week, China seemingly clapped back by rejecting Santa Clara, California-based Intel Corporation’s planned $5.4 billion acquisition of Israel-based Tower Semiconductor.
What’s Next: This type of summit will be an annual thing as Biden, Yoon and Kishida expressed plans to meet each year going forward.
Produced in association with Benzinga