By Prakash Nanda -August 19, 2023
At first glance, the first standalone summit among US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol at Camp David on August 18, again the first time that the Biden Administration has used the venue for an international meet, reflects a broader approach to the building of rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.
On closer scrutiny, however, questions arise as to whether the spirit that the three leaders displayed at the summit would be sustained in the days to come, given the bitter history involving Japan and South Korea on the one hand and the critical China factor on the other.
Let us first see what they agreed on.
“As Indo-Pacific nations, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the United States will continue to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific based on a respect for international law, shared norms, and common values. We strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion”, a statement titled “Camp David Principles” issued at the end of the summit emphasized.
Through their lengthy joint statement, titled “The Spirit of Camp David,” the three leaders pledged to promote and enhance peace and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific while expressing worries over the future of the Taiwan Strait and North Korea’s nuclearization and missile threats.