NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urges closer ties with Japan to defend democracy

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urges closer ties with Japan to defend democracy

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sharply criticized China Tuesday stressed the need for Japan and other democracies to “stop bullying their neighbors and bully Taiwan” and to work together in a coalition to defend the international order.

Stoltenberg, who is visiting Tokyo, described it as a “critical moment for NATO and Japan” and said that China and Russia “are waging an authoritarian push against the international rules-based order.”

He added that trans-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific security are “deeply linked,” and that’s a victory for the Russian president. Vladimir Putin would send a message to Ukraine that authoritarian regimes can achieve their goals through brute force. “It’s dangerous,” he said.

“China is watching closely and learning lessons that could affect its future decisions,” Stoltenberg said at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. “China is substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons, threatening its neighbors and Taiwan, trying to control critical infrastructure and spreading misinformation about it.” NATO and the war in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “China is not our adversary, but we must understand the scale of the challenge and work together to address it.”

Stoltenberg’s direct criticism of China contrasted with Kishida’s more indirect expression of opposition to any unilateral changes by force to the status quo in the East and South China Seas.

Japan, already a close ally of the United States, has in recent years expanded its military ties with Britain, Europe and NATO, along with other Indo-Pacific countries amid growing security threats from China and North Korea. Have done It was quick to join US-led economic sanctions against Russia’s war in Ukraine and provided humanitarian aid and non-combatant defense equipment for Ukrainians. This was mainly due to Japanese fears that Russian aggression in Europe could be reflected in Asia, where concerns have been growing about China’s growing assertiveness and rising tensions over its claim to Taiwan.

Also read: NATO chief said, will not back down from helping Ukraine

At the news conference, Kishida welcomed NATO’s keen interest and engagement in the Indo-Pacific region and announced that Japan would open a delegation office to NATO and hold regular council meetings to promote closer communication between Japan and Japan. and plans to attend the Defense Chiefs’ meetings. alliance.

Kishida said he and Stoltenberg agreed to advance ties in areas such as cyberspace, space, disinformation and critical and emerging technologies. Japan’s government issued a new national security strategy in December, citing its determination to build up its military and deploy long-range missiles to deter enemy attacks from a post-World War II doctrine that limited itself. told. , Japan also plans to nearly double its defense spending in five years and hopes to further ease restrictions on arms exports to strengthen its defense industry.

Stoltenberg arrived in Japan late Monday from South Korea, where he called on Seoul to provide direct military aid to Ukraine to help it fight off the prolonged Russian invasion. So far, Seoul has provided only humanitarian aid and other assistance, citing a long-standing policy of not supplying arms to countries in conflict.

North Korea condemned Stoltenberg’s visits to South Korea and Japan, saying NATO was trying to “put on its military boots” in the region and was trying to pressure America’s Asian allies to provide arms to Ukraine. Was.

In a statement released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea criticized growing cooperation between NATO and US allies in Asia as a process to create an “Asian version of NATO” that would increase tensions in the region.

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