South Korea and Japan have vowed to cooperate on clean-energy supply chains, quantum computing and future technologies, as the two Asian powerhouses bid to rebuild ties.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the pledges during a Silicon Valley roundtable on Friday.
It was the latest effort by the Asian neighbours to improve ties, which had been in what Kishida called “deep difficulty” before he and Yoon embarked this year on a campaign to repair them.
The two have meet several times since a Camp David summit with US President Joe Biden in August. Yoon and Kishida met one on one and together with Biden on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, which ended on Friday.
Concerned about a more aggressive China and the nuclear and missile ambitions of North Korea, Washington has been keen for its two key Asian allies to mend relations, frayed over issues such as the forced labour of Koreans under Japan’s 1910-1945 colonisation of the Korean Peninsula.
In addition to military and economic cooperation, Yoon and Kishida on Friday signalled work on science and technology would be a central to their relationship-building. Each spoke of the importance of technology sharing for “likeminded” countries.
Noting that innovations like quantum computing have national security implications, Yoon said cooperative development must take place with countries that have common values.
Kishida said he was looking forward to announcing a joint supply network with South Korea for carbon-neutral fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia.
“No single country can defend itself,” Kishida said, “The same is true with technology – no one country alone can change the world.”
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara