S. Korea, U.S., Japan’s trilateral ties ‘sustainable’ after elections: U.S. envoy

TOKYO, - The U.S. ambassador to Japan said Tuesday that the shared common economic and security interests among Seoul, Washington and Japan would sustain the trilateral cooperation forged at the August summit beyond the upcoming elections in each country.

The remark came after the three countries have been making efforts to enhance trilateral ties in a wide array of areas following the landmark summit at Camp David in Maryland in August.

Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. envoy to Japan, noted that the accomplishment through the summit of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Joe Biden and Fumio Kishida, respectively, was made possible as the three leaders were willing to "take political risks."

"I also think it is sustainable regardless of the outcome of the election, because all three countries have shared interests. In the end of the day, the shared interests have a pretty gravitational pull," he added.

Pundits have been expressing concerns over the sustainability of the trilateral partnership, as there have been some ups and downs in the bilateral relationship between South Korea and Japan depending on administrations.

The upcoming U.S. presidential election in November 2024 adds further uncertainty to the political landscape.

"The three leaders made it happen, but it is not dependent on the three leaders," he said, noting "security interests" will carry the partnership forward.

Emanuel added the trilateral relationship among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan is stronger than the ties that North Korea would have with China and Russia.

"They don't share strategic interests in the same collaborative, cooperative way than we do," the envoy said, adding that he is not sure Beijing would consider the recent military ties between North Korea and Russia as a positive move.

Emanuel further noted that the trilateral cooperation will also allow the three countries to seek "great coordination" in dealing with North Korea and other global issues.

"Not only has Russia violated the United Nations charter by invading Ukraine, they have now violated and upended the sanctions which they are part to as it relates to North Korea," Emanuel said.

"I think it's an example that either the United Nations begins to stand up as an organization that has credibility or again gets diminished," he added, hinting the cooperation among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan will be enhanced when Seoul joins the U.N. Security Council next year.

South Korea was elected as a nonpermanent member of the council for a two-year term in June, expanding its foothold in the U.N. body to better address the North Korean issue and other global security challenges.

Source: Yonhap News Agency