Published: 12:16, September 3, 2023 | Updated: 12:15, September 3, 2023
Camp David's Summit: A starting shot of some new Cold War
By Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

It seems that Camp David has now become new epic center of new Cold War and instrument for covert formation of Mini-NATO in Asia-Pacific region after the recently held trilateral meeting and signing of  "Spirit of Camp David", "Camp Principles" and "Commitment to Consult" among the United States, Japan and South Korea. 

This is the first time in history that the US, Japan and South Korea have held a trilateral summit on an occasion other than an international conference, and also the first time that Biden has hosted foreign leaders at Camp David since taking office in 2021 vividly reflects its geopolitical and geostrategic importance.

Yes, there is the diplomatic denial by US officials claiming that the US-Japan-South Korea summit at the US presidential retreat is not against China. However their statements and agreements are all categorically run counter to their claims.

Their agreements mainly focus on military alliance moves; their statements not only contain premeditated inclusion of Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, but also have strong wording about so-called dangerous and aggressive behavior of China, not the US, in the South China Sea.

Such ill designs and grand policies of zero-sum game on the pretext of peace and stability just to justify their “containment of China” elucidates chronic evil schemes of these three allies against China, making their officials blatantly hypocritical, and Camp David standing out for anti-China syndrome.  

And instead of any dovish endeavor for regional peace, US President Joe Biden’s holding of the summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced new military commitments, followed by holding of joint military and ballistic missile drills, strengthening China-excluded semiconductor supply chains, cyber security and artificial intelligence, and moving jointly toward encircling China to further consolidate US hegemonic and imperialism deigns. 

Furthermore, trilateral agreement to pilot a supply chain early-warning system to guard against disruptions of certain products, including critical minerals used in electric vehicle batteries is no less fishy for an articulated economic coercion.  

In this connection, many regional experts rightly lambasted anti-China hypocrisy and pointed out that although the group has yet to form a collective defense commitment similar to NATO's “an attack on one is an attack on all”, the slogan of a threat to any member is a threat to the US, Japan, and South Korea as a whole has already been widely disseminated. 

Moreover, these three countries are moving towards interlinked security environments inching towards Mini-NATO mechanism. It is seriously concerning that the mini-NATO planned around serving the US' strategic competition with China and weakens China's development prospects are being chalked out. Trilateral framework could be gradually institutionalized in these countries in coming years, creating further uncertainty and instability in the region. 

Mere using diplomatic language the three countries actually tried to forge their image as defenders of peace and stability in the so-called Indo-Pacific region rather that troublemakers and creators of camp confrontation.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin rightly urged these three countries to uphold true multilateralism amid a complex international security situation, as the Pacific region is a highland of peace and development which should not be an arena for geopolitical games. 

Yet though both Seoul and Tokyo are bent by US military bases and politics, conflicting ground realities indicate declining political grip and acceptability of South Korean President Yoon, as his pro-US policies and his olive branch offering to Japan has been labeled as national disgrace. Kishida’s approval rating at home is neither satisfactory.

Current policies of the leaders of Japan and South Korea reflect a lack of independence, making their diplomatic approach unbalanced, which will surely impact these leaders domestically.

It is worrying that the trilateral Camp David summit is bringing more regional risks and military drills with Japanese military machines crossing the border against the pacifist spirit of its Constitution. It is indeed renewed of forming new camp confrontation and military blocs into the Asia-Pacific region, a US-led effort to tie Japan and South Korea to its warlike chariot, especially as pawns, in pursuit of a new-generation US strategy to be used against China. 

Camp David summit turns out to be another deliberated extension of the US China’s containment, US Military Complex Theories, Biden executive order of investment’s ban, trade, tech, economic and financial sanctions against China by involving South Korea and Japan on familiar pretexts. It may be appropriate to say that the trilateral Camp David summit is possibly a starting shot for a new Cold War.

However, the shot may not be a good omen for South Korea or Japan, because China is their huge trade partner, and close neighbor forever. Their business communities already feel the chill about Camp David results. Ultimately, the implementation of the Camp David’s agreements will create economic imbalance, industrial supply chain disruption, security paradoxes and military proxies in the days to come that will hurt both Japan and South Korea at least.    

The author is Executive Director of The Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.