There is a growing expectation that a U.S.-Japan summit talk scheduled on Monday in Tokyo will discuss the improvement of South Korea-Japan relations as U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol reinforced the significance of trilateral cooperation among Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo in a joint statement following their summit talk.
Presidents Yoon and Biden reiterated in their joint statement issued on Saturday that the trilateral cooperative system among South Korea, the United States, and Japan matter to respond to North Korea’s provocations, safeguard common security, strengthen rules-based international order and effectively resolve common economic challenges. Regarding the relations between South Korea and Japan, President Biden said in a joint press conference with President Yoon on Saturday that they generally discussed the issue, which he will also touch upon on his visit to Japan. He put emphasis on a close economic and military relationship among the three allies.
President Biden expected that there will be some ways to tackle trade barriers, adding that he is looking into this issue closely. Mentioning some barriers placed by predecessors, he did not specify what they really are. In response, both South Korea and Japan interpreted that he implied an export regulation on semiconductor materials imposed by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2019 in retaliation for South Korea’s court ruling that ordered Japan to compensate for the forced mobilization of Korean workers in the Japanese colonial era. The Yomiuri Shimbun analyzed that President Biden’s comments target Japan’s export control against South Korea.
After leaving Seoul, U.S. President Biden arrived at Yokota Air Base in Japan at 5 p.m. on Sunday to start his two-night trip. With Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to join on Monday, President Biden will make an official announcement to launch the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) aimed at deploying economic siege strategies against China. He will attend a summit talk on Tuesday with his Japanese, Indian and Australian counterparts as part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or a security consultive body among the four nations to discuss how to keep China in check.