- NATO leaders looking to strengthen ties with Asian allies
- Asks South Korea to step up military aid to Ukraine
- China says it’s also challenging ‘our values’
SEOUL, Jan 30 (Reuters) – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday urged South Korea to step up its military assistance to Ukraine, refusing to supply weapons to warring nations in the wake of Russia’s aggression. He pointed out that other countries have changed the policy.
Addressing in Seoul, the first stop of his visit, which included Japan, Stoltenberg said he wanted to strengthen ties with Western allies in Asia in the face of war in Ukraine and increased competition from China. purpose.
Speaking at the Choi Institute for Advanced Study in Seoul, he thanked South Korea for its non-lethal aid to Ukraine, adding that there was an “urgent need” for ammunition and urging more help. bottom.
“I urge the Republic of Korea to continue and strengthen the specific issue of military assistance,” he said.
“At the end of the day, it’s your decision, but some NATO allies that had a policy of never exporting arms to countries in conflict are now changing that policy,” he said. .quotes Germany, Sweden and Norway.
“They (Ukrainians) need weapons if they don’t want dictatorship and tyranny to win. That’s the reality,” said former Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, South Korea has signed a major deal to provide NATO member Poland with hundreds of tanks, aircraft and other weapons. But President Yoon Seok-yeol said a South Korean law banning the supply of weapons to conflict countries made it difficult to send weapons to Ukraine.
Russia has called the invasion, which began on February 24, a “special operation” to prevent threats to its security.
Stoltenberg said in a meeting with senior South Korean officials that events in Europe and North America were correlated with events elsewhere, and that the alliance could pose a global threat by strengthening partnerships in Asia. He said he would like to help manage the
NATO’s director general said it was “extremely important” to prevent Russia from winning this war. This is also to avoid sending the false message that you can get what you want by brute force.
Although China is not a NATO enemy, he said it has become “much more important” on the NATO agenda, citing Beijing’s growing military power and coercive actions in the region.
“I believe we should cooperate with China on arms control, climate change and other issues,” he said. “But at the same time, it is clear that China poses a threat to our values, our interests and our security.”
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Mao Ning said on Monday, in response to questions about Stoltenberg’s remarks, that China was a partner of the state, not a challenge, and did not threaten the interests or security of any country.
At a regular news briefing, Mao said, “I hope NATO will abandon its Cold War mentality and concept of bloc rivalry and do more for the security and stability of Europe and the world.”
In a statement delivered by state media on Monday, North Korea called the Stoltenberg visit “a prelude to confrontation and war as it unleashes a ‘new Cold War’ cloud over the Asia-Pacific region.”
Last year, South Korea opened its first diplomatic mission to NATO, pledging to deepen cooperation in non-proliferation, cyber defense, counter-terrorism, disaster response, and other security areas.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was also scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Monday to meet with South Korean Defense Secretary Lee Jong-sup.
Reported by Soo-hyang Choi. Additional reporting by Hanna Song and Eduardo Baptista.Editing by Kim Coghill, Jerry Doyle and Gareth Jones
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