Biden Hosts First Camp David Summit, Insists It’s ‘Not About China’

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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CAMP DAVID — President Joe Biden met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Camp David on Friday, marking the first time the leaders of the three countries met in a stand-alone summit.

Biden spoke about the strength of the democracies in each of the countries, and his aim of cooperating to “serve as a force of good across the Indo-Pacific” and “around the world.” The summit comes amid Biden’s efforts to counter China and establish closer allies in Asia. Kishida also noted the importance of maintaining the alliances amid increased pressure from North Korea.

At the trilateral press conference, the president insisted that the summit was “not about China,” and did not mention China while speaking about the accomplishments of the three countries. (RELATED: Biden Admin: Our Strategy Is Not About ‘Holding Back’ China)

“This summit was not about China. That was not the purpose of the meeting. China obviously came up. Not to say we don’t share concerns about the economic coercion or heightened tensions caused by China. But this summit was really about our relationship with each other,” Biden said.

The Daily Caller asked the president if he viewed China as a “threat,” but he did not answer the question.

Most notably, Biden, Yoon and Kishida are expected to establish a trilateral hotline to use whenever there is a crisis in the Indo-Pacific region or affecting the U.S., South Korea and Japan. The hotline would be the first of its kind.

CAMP DAVID, MARYLAND – AUGUST 18: (L-R) Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio arrive for a joint news conference following three-way talks at Camp David on August 18, 2023 in Camp David, Maryland. Biden hosted the trilateral summit at the presidential retreat near Thurmont, Maryland, where the leaders discussed moving forward in “lockstep” on issues related to military cooperations, international politics, countering China and North Korea and other topics. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The three committed to meeting at least once per year, annual military exercises, doubling down on information sharing, strengthening ballistic defense collaboration, expanding economic cooperation, launching a supply chain early warning system pilot and global health cooperation.

Biden, Yook and Kishida also unveiled the “Camp David Principles,” in which they stressed their commitment to denuclearizing North Korea and maintaining stability in the Taiwan Strait, among other vows.

The summit was the first Biden has hosted with foreign leaders at the presidential retreat during his administration. Yoon and Kishida arrived Friday morning and held unilateral meetings with the president before heading into a trilateral summit in the afternoon.