NATO Chief Stresses Indo-Pacific Partnership Importance Amid Tensions
1 February 2023 20:41 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - In a speech at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, February 1, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the importance of NATO's work with partners in the Indo-Pacific. He said that Europe cannot ignore what happens in East Asia, as global security is interconnected.
"Working with partners around the world, especially in the Indo-Pacific, is part of the answer to a more dangerous and unpredictable world," Stoltenberg said.
"The war in Ukraine demonstrates how security is interconnected. It demonstrates that what happens in Europe has a consequence for East Asia, and what happens in East Asia matters to Europe," he said, adding that "the idea China doesn't matter for NATO doesn't work."
Stoltenberg's statements are part of his visit to Japan, where he pledged to strengthen ties with Tokyo to navigate an increasingly tense security environment triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its growing military cooperation with China.
Stoltenberg said that China was not an adversary, but was becoming a "more and more authoritarian power" displaying arrogance, threatening Taiwan, and developing military capabilities that could reach NATO countries.
"We are more than ready to further strengthen and expand the partnership with countries in this region," he added.
Meanwhile, China rejected the claims by Stoltenberg, saying it has always been a defender of peace and stability.
"On the one hand, NATO claims that its position as a regional defensive alliance remains unchanged, while on the other hand, it continues to break through traditional defense zones and areas, continuously strengthen military security ties with Asia-Pacific countries and exaggerate the threat of China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a regular briefing on Wednesday.
Mao emphasized that "the Asia-Pacific is not a battlefield for geopolitical rivalry and confrontation between the camps with Cold War mentality is not welcomed."
Before arriving in Japan Stoltenberg had visited South Korea. There he urged Seoul to increase military support to Ukraine, giving similar warnings about rising tensions with China.
China has criticized NATO's efforts to expand its alliances in Asia. Russia, which calls its invasion of Ukraine a "special operation", has also repeatedly cast NATO's expansion as a threat to its security.
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