U.S. envoy hints at potential energy cooperation among South Korea, Japan and the U.S.

Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Energy Resources, suggested expanding energy cooperation between South Korea, the United States, and potentially Japan.

A U.S. official suggested on Friday that South Korea and the United States might consider broadening their bilateral energy cooperation dialogue to include Japan in the future. Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Energy Resources, highlighted the significance Washington attaches to its Asian allies. He made these comments in response to inquiries about the potential expansion of talks to involve other like-minded nations such as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

Ambassador Pyatt expressed his belief that there is potential for further cooperation between the United States, Japan, and South Korea in the North Asia context, leveraging the deeper trilateral cooperation that the United States has strongly advocated. He made these remarks during an online press briefing.

While acknowledging that the energy sector certainly presents opportunities for collaboration among the three countries or more, Pyatt sounded a note of caution, stating that realizing such possibilities would require “more work.”

He said that although there are certainly some areas where he could envision the U.S.-Japan-Korea relationship meeting that test, achieving that would necessitate additional efforts from all parties involved, and they have not quite reached that point yet.

During the recent Energy Security Dialogue between Washington and Seoul, Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Energy Resources, mentioned that he and his South Korean counterpart, Kim Hee-sang, deputy foreign minister for economic affairs, addressed efforts to secure critical energy supply chains, including solar energy, to reduce dependence on Chinese sourcing.

Pyatt added that discussions also centred on collaborative efforts to hasten the transition to clean energy in Southeast Asia and throughout the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Regarding South Korea’s energy reliance on Russia, particularly in coal imports, Pyatt emphasized that diminishing fossil fuel dependency aligns with broader goals for achieving a green energy transition, rather than solely focusing on bilateral ties with Russia.

Pyatt stated that Korea had already reached zero on specific major fossil energy imports from Russia, with its imports of Russian liquefied natural gas decreasing by approximately half compared to before the full-scale invasion began.