At a Camp David summit meeting, Biden succeeded in forming another front against China and brought together the leaders of two countries whose past was characterized by deep enmity — Japan and South Korea.
Two significant political events in the international arena occurred over the weekend and this past week. From the start, these events had different and opposite objectives. The summit in Johannesburg that included the leaders of the BRICS group — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa., featured countries generally known for their authoritarian regimes and oppression of minorities.
“The Western media has difficulty dealing with good news,” said the deputy head of a Western delegation at the U.N. in New York. The delegate, a veteran and respected diplomat, expressed disappointment at what he called “media disregard of the Camp David summit,” which, he said, “bears great significance and influence in the balance of forces worldwide.”* Diplomatic colleagues who led Western delegations at the U.N. said they were pleased the summit took place.
“The conclusion that was reached at the Camp David summit about setting up a tripartite forum for consultation in response to crises in Southeast Asia and in other parts of the world is a message, and [it’s] good news that the three important democratic superpowers decided that the time had arrived to bring order to the chaos controlling parts of the world,” said the deputy delegation head.* You don’t have to be an expert or commentator to see he is referring to the continuing war in Ukraine, to missiles that Russia is firing at civilian targets and, of course, defiant and competitive actions by China in sensitive parts of the globe.
The New York Times summed up the Camp David summit with the headline “Looming Over a New Security Pact: China, North Korea and Donald Trump.” In fact, Biden showed restraint in how he characterized the discussions at Camp David. At a joint press conference with his counterpart from Seoul, Yoon Suk Yeol, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Biden declared that the summit signaled a “new age” in relations between the United States, South Korea and Japan. He praised the leaders of the two countries, who were serious rivals in the past, for the “political courage” they showed in coming to Camp David. The three leaders agreed to annual summits among the countries.
Concern over the return of Donald Trump’s return to the White House also united the three leaders. During his presidency, Trump threatened to cancel the defense agreement between the United States and Japan and to withdraw all American soldiers stationed in South Korea. “They do not forget,” wrote The New York Times, “the warm friendly relations Trump had with the ruler of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, and the fact that Trump responded at that time to Kim’s request and canceled for one year the joint exercises between the armies of the United States and South Korea.”* Closing remarks at the summit clearly demonstrated an aggressive approach to China: “Regarding the dangerous and aggressive behavior supporting unlawful maritime claims that we have recently witnessed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the South China Sea, we strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the waters of the Indo-Pacific.”
Whether it was related to the summit or not, directly following the statement from the U.S., Japan and South Korea, China announced military maneuvers near Taiwan, which China does not recognize as a sovereign nation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend the summit in Johannesburg. The International Criminal Court has designated Putin a war criminal and he prefers not to travel outside Russia for fear he will be arrested.
Meanwhile, participants representing 40% of the world’s population met at the Johannesburg summit; however, the economies of these regions are not currently very bright.
The growth of the Chinese economy has slowed significantly, according to The New York Times. Relations between the five member countries of the BRICS organization are tense. “All of the member countries of the group fear each other and they all fear China,” said the deputy head of the U.N. Western delegation. Based on the reports from the two summits, it is clear that the Middle East was not a topic of discussion and, in general, did not interest the leaders of the countries. Iran was not mentioned at all, not as a subject of discussion and not as a factor of concern. In the estimation of diplomats in New York, the conclusion of the Camp David summit shows that the three democratic countries will maintain relations and talks aimed at fashioning a response to countries whose governments work against and in detriment to democracy and human rights. The diplomats concluded that the Camp David summit also proved that the United States under Biden’s leadership is strengthening and fortifying its position as a leading and influential superpower.
*Editor’s Note: This quote, though accurately translated, could not be independently verified.