The United States, Japan and South Korea have promised “concerted trilateral cooperation” towards the denuclearisation of North Korea.
Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, held a rare in-person meeting with his counterparts from South Korea and Japan, Suh Hoon and Shigeru Kitamura, at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
They said in a joint statement that they “shared their concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs” and they“agreed on the imperative for full implementation of relevant UN security council resolutions by the international community, including North Korea, preventing proliferation and cooperating to strengthen deterrence and maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
Addressing other key priorities for Biden, the security officials also discussed the fights against Covid-19 and climate change, and ways to restore democracy in Myanmar.
The meeting came as a review by the Biden administration on how to deal with North Korea was in its final stages, following Donald Trump’s unusually personal diplomacy with strongman Kim Jong-un.
The former president held three meetings with Kim, with whom Trump said he “fell in love,” in a diplomatic overture that eased tensions but did not lead to a permanent agreement.
Biden has sharply criticised Trump’s meetings, saying he legitimised one of the world’s most ruthless leaders, but has also said he is open to diplomacy.
Biden administration officials are widely expected to support a resumption of lower-level talks rather than high-stakes, high-drama summits.
Biden has also warned North Korea of consequences for violations of UN security council resolutions after Pyongyang recently tested what US officials judged to be ballistic missiles.
A US official said Sullivan was also speaking to Japan and South Korea about the global shortage of semiconductors, as supply chains have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The lack of semiconductors has forced some automakers to curtail production and appears to be spreading to a wide range of electronic items.
The Annapolis talks mark rare in-person diplomacy for the Biden administration amid the pandemic and Sullivan’s first trilateral since taking office.