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Biden to hold joint meeting with leaders of Japan, S.Korea

US President Joe Biden will hold a rare three-way meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea at the NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday, a US official said Tuesday.

“The president tomorrow will have the opportunity to host a trilateral meeting with the president of Korea and the prime minister of Japan. This will be the first trilateral leaders-level meeting that we’ve had in some time,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said aboard Air Force One on the way to Madrid.

Discussions will focus on the threat from North Korea’s nuclear programme and tensions with China, he said.

For both Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol it is the first time their countries have been represented at a NATO summit.

Sullivan said the presence at the NATO gathering of leaders from Japan, South Korea, as well as Australia and New Zealand, underlined Biden’s “very strong view” that the traditional transatlantic alliance is increasingly linked to security in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The ties between allies in the two theatres have to deepen as well, not because NATO is going to go be fighting wars in the Pacific but because there is an interconnection between the robustness and vitality of our Asia-Pacific alliances and our Euro-Atlantic alliances,” he said.

The three-way meeting “will be mainly focused on the continuing threat” from North Korea, particularly after a series of missile tests and other “provocative” steps, Sullivan said.

“More broadly, he (Biden) will have the opportunity to talk with our Indo-Pacific partners and the NATO alliance about the China challenge.”