“For decades, the United States’ alliances with Japan and the Republic of Korea have been among our most important, not only in the Indo-Pacific, but around the world,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken following meetings with the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan.
In light of both emerging threats and opportunities for innovation, cooperation between the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United States is essential to delivering on a strategy for a free and open Indo-Pacific. This includes efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic and tackle climate change, and strengthen economic security. In particular, a free and open Indo-Pacific requires “shoring up vulnerabilities in our supply chains that have been exposed by the pandemic – from semiconductors to critical minerals – which will also make us less reliant on suppliers who violate human rights or flout environmental standards,” said Secretary Blinken.
All these strategies are much easier to do with three advanced economies than two or one, he said:
“Our economic security also depends on upholding the rules of the road that have enabled decades of unprecedented security for our people and prosperity across the region and around the world. This includes ensuring that our workers and businesses can compete on a fair and level playing field, and protecting freedom of navigation and overflight, including in the South and East China Seas.”
A free and open Indo-Pacific also necessitates working together to shape new standards in emerging technologies, which are driving major sectors of the economy and touch on virtually every aspect of peoples’ lives.
The United States, South Korea and Japan also discussed how to advance their shared goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and finding lasting peace there, said Secretary Blinken:
“We condemn the DPRK’s recent ballistic missile launches and its unlawful nuclear and ballistic programs, which are clear violations of UN Security Council resolutions. And we continue to work to find ways to hold the DPRK accountable, as we did by imposing sanctions on eight DPRK-linked individuals.
The U.S. remains open to dialogue without preconditions, if Pyongyang chooses that path.”
The United States’ relationship with South Korea and Japan, said Secretary Blinken, will remain “America’s steadfast commitment to defend both allies, in our deep and growing economic and trade ties, and in the abiding bonds between our people.”