Remarks by President Biden, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, and President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea Before Trilateral Meeting
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
4:37 P.M. ICT
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Prime Minister Kishida, President Yoon, it’s great to see you both again. And, Mr. President, I first want to express our deepest condolences to you and the people of Korea for the tragedy in Seoul two weeks ago. We grieve and stand with you and — and the many families who lost loved ones.
Japan and the Republic of Korea are both critical allies of the United States. And for years, our countries have been engaged in a trilateral cooperation out of a shared concern for the — for the nuclear and missile threats North Korea poses to — to our people. And North Korea continues provocation — provocative behavior. This partnership is even more important than it’s ever been.
We’re also deepening our cooperation and collaboration on a range of other challenges. Today, we’ll discuss how we can strengthen our supply chains and economic resilience, and how we can preserve peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, and how we can expand our coordinated support for Ukraine, and how we can work toward the common goals of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
And we face real challenges, but our countries are more aligned than ever, more prepared to take on those challenges than ever.
So, I look forward to deepening the bonds of cooperation between our three countries and thank both of you for your friendship as well as your partnership.
And I yield the floor to Prime Minister Kishida.
PRIME MINISTER KISHIDA: (As interpreted.) Again, from myself, President Yoon, I would also like to once again extend my deep condolences to the victims of the painful incident that occurred at Itaewon.
Now North Korea’s provocations, unprecedented both in their frequency and their manner, continue. And we assume that there could be more coming.
So, it is extremely, truly timely that the Japan-U.S.-ROK trilateral summit is being held at such a juncture. And I truly hope that our trilateral cooperation will be cemented further as we counter such challenges resolutely.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you. President Yoon.
PRESIDENT YOON: (As interpreted.) Following our encounters in New York last September, I am delighted to meet with President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida once again.
In a tragic incident that occurred recently, the lives of two Americans and two Japanese were lost, for which I am deeply saddened and heartbroken.
For the victims of the Itaewon incident, you have given us warm words of condolences. And I thank you very much.
This Korea-U.S.-Japan summit is being held again in five months at a very timely moment indeed. The current developments on the Korean Peninsula and in the region and beyond require the strongest level of our trilateral coordination.
Notably, North Korea, emboldened by its nuclear and missile capabilities, is attempting even more hostile and aggressive provocations.
Since I took office in May, North Korea has launched some 50 missiles to date. And from the end of October to early November, its missile-firing was intensive — one of which flew over the eastern part of the Northern Limit Line and landed in our territorial waters. First time this has ever happened since the division of the Peninsula — an extremely serious provocation indeed.
At a time when South Koreans are grieving in deep sorrow, North Korea pushed ahead with its — with such provocations, which lays bare the Kim Jong Un regime’s true inclinations that completely go against humanitarianism and humanism.
In safeguarding universal values and attaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, our trilateral coordination remains a strong bulwark.
Through this meeting today, I hope we will step up cooperation among our three nations.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, the trilateral cooperation is extreme, it’s extensive, and it’s real. And it’s not going to — it’s going to be sustained.
(Addressing the press.) And if you all can leave without hurting one another, it’d be a nice thing to see.
4:43 P.M. ICT