March 27, 2023
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NATO chief urges SK to step up military support for Ukraine

SEOUL — NATO Secretary-Common Jens Stoltenberg urged South Korea (SK) on Monday to improve military support to Ukraine, citing different international locations which have modified their coverage of not offering weapons to international locations in battle after Russia’s invasion.

Mr. Stoltenberg is in Seoul, the primary cease on a visit that may embrace Japan and is geared toward strengthening ties with US allies within the face of the battle in Ukraine and rising competitors with China.

Talking on the Chey Institute for Superior Research in Seoul, he thanked South Korea for its non-lethal support to Ukraine, however urged it to do extra, including there may be an “urgent need” for ammunition. Russia calls the invasion a “special operation”.

“I urge the Republic of Korea to continue and to step up on the specific issue of military support,” he mentioned. “At the end of the day, it’s a decision for you to make, but I’ll say that several NATO allies who have had as a policy to never export weapons to countries in a conflict have changed that policy now.”

In conferences with senior South Korean officers, Mr. Stoltenberg argued that occasions in Europe and North America are interconnected with different areas, and that the alliance needs to assist handle international threats by growing partnerships in Asia.

South Korea has signed main offers offering a whole lot of tanks, plane and different weapons to NATO member Poland because the battle started, however South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has mentioned that his nation’s regulation in opposition to offering arms to international locations in conflicts makes offering weapons to Ukraine tough.

Mr. Stoltenberg famous that international locations akin to Germany, Sweden, and Norway had related insurance policies however modified them.

“If we don’t want autocracy and tyranny to win, then they need weapons, that’s the reality,” he mentioned, referring to Ukraine.

The NATO chief mentioned it was “extremely important” that Russia doesn’t win this battle, not solely for the Ukrainians but in addition to keep away from sending a flawed message to authoritarian leaders, together with in Beijing, that they will get what they need by power.

Though China isn’t NATO’s adversary, it has change into “much higher” on NATO’s agenda, Mr. Stoltenberg mentioned, citing Beijing’s rising military capabilities and coercive conduct within the area.

“We believe that we should engage with China on issues like arms control, climate change and other issues,” he mentioned. “But at the same time, we are very clear that China poses a challenge to our values, to our interests, and to our security.”

In a press release carried by state media on Monday, North Korea known as Mr. Stoltenberg’s go to a “prelude to confrontation and war as it brings the dark clouds of a ‘new Cold War’ to the Asia-Pacific region.”

Final yr South Korea opened its first diplomatic mission to NATO, vowing to deepen cooperation on non-proliferation, cyber protection, counter-terrorism, catastrophe response and different safety areas.

The NATO chief’s go to additionally comes as U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin was due to arrive in Seoul on Monday for talks together with his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-sup.  Reuters

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