BEIJING: China said on Monday (Aug 21) that it had lodged complaints over a statement released at a first-of-its-kind summit of the leaders of the United States, South Korea and Japan in which they criticised Beijing’s “aggressive behaviour”.
US President Joe Biden hosted the summit – described as launching a “new chapter” of close, three-way security cooperation – at the Camp David presidential retreat.
The three leaders said in a joint statement on Friday that they opposed the “dangerous and aggressive behaviour” of China in maritime disputes in the East and South China Sea.
Beijing hit back on Monday, saying that the leaders had “smeared and attacked China on Taiwan-related and maritime issues, grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs and deliberately sowed discord between China and its neighbours”.
It also expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition and has lodged solemn representations with relevant parties”, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing.
Camp David marks the first time that the leaders of the United States, Japan and South Korea have met for a standalone summit, rather than on the sidelines of a larger event.
Biden praised the “political courage” of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in turning the page on historical animosity.
Such a summit would have been unthinkable until recently due to the legacy of Japan’s harsh 1910 to 1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula.
The three leaders agreed to a multi-year plan of regular exercises in all domains and made a formal “commitment to consult” during crises, with Biden saying they would open a hotline.
The leaders also agreed to share real-time data on North Korea and to hold summits every year.
On Monday, Wang slammed the grouping as an example of an “attempt to revive Cold War mentality by inciting division and confrontation represented by various closed and exclusive small circles”.