NATO chief urges South Korea to increase military aid for Ukrainetext_fields
Seoul: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg asked South Korea to reconsider its policy of not exporting weapons to countries in conflict and "step up" military aid for Ukraine. He was in Seoul during his Asia trip.
South Korea has until now provided only non-lethal and humanitarian aid to Kyiv. However, it has signed deals to sell hundreds of tanks to European countries including Poland which is a NATO member. Germany and Norway among several other nations had similar policies against the export of weapons to governments in active conflict. They revised policies Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
He met officials and said Kyiv has "an urgent need for ammunition". He added: "If we believe in freedom, democracy, if we don't want autocracy and tyranny to win then they need weapons." A readout released by President Yoon Suk-yeol after meeting with Stoltenberg said that the country will "continue to play a possible role in cooperation with the international community to help the people of Ukraine."
Speaking to AFP, he stated that regional allies needed to recognise that global security is interconnected. He added that South Korea and Japan are "providing significant economic support to Ukraine." Stoltenberg will also be visiting Japan.
During an interview in Seoul, he said if Russia won the war, it would send a "dangerous message to authoritarian leaders all over the world." It will also have direct consequences on the security and stability of Asia.
The NATO chief is visiting allies to boost democratic ties in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine and growing competition from China. He clarified that his visits to Seoul and Tokyo are not about expanding NATO into the Asia-Pacific but it is crucial that democratic allies cooperate more. Speaking about China, he said: "Cyber is a global threat, terrorism has been a global threat for many decades, space is becoming more and more contested, which is truly global."
North Korea's state media on Monday said Stoltenberg's Asia trip was bringing the region "close to the extreme security crisis". He also spoke of North Korea "providing rockets and missiles to the Wagner group", a claim Pyongyang has angrily denied. He added that the nuclear programmes of North Korea are also NATO's problem, because stability in this region matters to us.
Speaking at the Chey Institute in Seoul, he highlighted that security is no longer regional but global.