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Revealing Mission Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg Visit to Asia


Jakarta – During his visit to Asia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will discuss military threats from North Korea and China, while trying to deepen NATO’s political and defense relations with the two Asian countries.

In his meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, Stoltenberg discussed North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and said he believed North Korea had assisted Russia in the war in Ukraine.

He also spoke of how Europe and Asia could better “connect” and called on South Korea to “step up military support” for Ukraine. Speaking at the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies in Seoul, Stoltenberg said that “if we don’t want autocracy and tyranny to win, then they (Ukraine) need weapons, that’s the reality.”

In an interview with South Korea’s Yonhap news agency he said, “We need to address these global threats and challenges, including challenges coming from China, and one way of doing this is, of course, working more closely with partners in the region.”

In Japan, Jens Stoltenberg spoke with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other top officials.

Rising tensions in Asia

Jim Townsend, the US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO under former President Barack Obama, and currently a senior assistant at the Center for a New American Security, described Stoltenberg’s trip to Asia as one of “collateral” for Asian partners.

“Stoltenberg’s visit is important. The war in Ukraine is having an impact on Asian countries, and China’s close relationship with Russia is also a threat that needs to be addressed,” he told DW. Stoltenberg’s presence in Seoul and Tokyo shows that NATO wants to strengthen its partnership with Asia, he said.

“This visit also signifies unity, as it shows that NATO and Asia are willing to work together. This trip signifies a stronger partnership to confront China, North Korea and Russia’s influence in Asia,” he added.

At last year’s NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, leaders from Japan and South Korea expressed the urgency to address challenges in East Asia. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Japan at the time expressed concern over the possibility of conflict in East Asia amid China’s military build-up and increased presence in the East and South China Seas.
Condemnation from North Korea and China

North Korean state media called Jens Stoltenberg’s visit “the beginning of confrontation and war as it brings the dark clouds of the ‘new Cold War’ to the Asia-Pacific region.” In the run up to the NATO summit in Madrid last year, China also reacted in a similar way. China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said at the time, “NATO’s five eastward expansions after the Cold War have not only failed to make Europe safer, but have also sown the seeds of conflict.” He then stressed, “We are firmly opposed to certain elements demanding NATO involvement in the Asia-Pacific, or the Asia-Pacific version of NATO.”

Jim Townsend said this kind of rhetoric was to be expected. “They will say that the visit by the head of NATO is a propaganda tour. But for NATO, this trip is important as one guarantees for the people of South Korea and Japan to ensure that they have friends in Europe and the US who are concerned about the security of this part of Asia,” he explained.

Source: detik