Seoul (EFE) kyiv before the Russian invasion.
Stoltenberg met today in Seoul with the South Korean President, Yoon Suk-yeol, and with the Asian country’s Defense Minister, Lee Jong-sup, during the second and last day of his trip to South Korea.
The visit of the head of NATO was focused on reinforcing collaboration with South Korea, a country that participated as an observer in the summit of the Atlantic alliance in Madrid last year, and comes at a time marked by the war in Ukraine, tensions between China and the United States and North Korea’s weapons developments.
Deterrence against Pyongyang
In this context, Stoltenberg stressed the importance of the “extended deterrence” of the United States in the South to guarantee the security of the Asian country and to “prevent a proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region.”
That concept means that NATO allies and some of its partners, such as South Korea, “do not have their own nuclear weapons but are covered by the nuclear deterrence offered by the United States,” the secretary general said during his speech at a forum. this Monday.
Stoltenberg noted that nuclear deterrence “is still an extremely important task to accomplish as long as atomic weapons exist” and as long as there are “authoritarian powers that have them like Russia and invest heavily to mobilize them, as we see China do, increasing their number and range.” of assets, which North Korea is also doing.”
The Pentagon made a commitment to apply the extended deterrence to Seoul for the shipment of US strategic assets based on the actions of the North Korean regime, which includes joint exercises to prepare for these deployments in response to the North’s constant weapons tests.
In this sense, the South Korean president asked Stoltenberg that NATO “continue to play an active role” to deter the North from “reckless provocations” such as its succession of ballistic missile launches or the new atomic test that Pionyang is preparing, according to the services’ belief. intelligence from Washington and Seoul.
Stoltenberg agreed and also indicated his willingness to expand cooperation between NATO and Seoul in the field of cybersecurity and new technologies, in addition to inviting Yoon to the next summit of the allies, which will take place in Lithuania in July, as reported. the South Korean presidential office.
In parallel to the former Norwegian prime minister’s visit to Seoul, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in South Korea today, and is scheduled to meet with his South Korean counterpart on Tuesday to discuss extended deterrence, among other issues.
Request for arms for Ukraine
Stoltenberg also called during his visit for South Korea to send weapons to Ukraine, in addition to the humanitarian assistance and non-lethal military equipment that Seoul has sent to kyiv.
“I urge the Republic of Korea (official name of South Korea) to continue and raise the level of the specific issue of military support,” said the NATO official during a speech at the Chey think tank in Seoul.
In his meeting with Yoon, Stoltenberg “expressed his gratitude for the continued assistance” in the situation in Ukraine, while the South Korean president said that he “will continue to cooperate in all possible areas with the international community to continue supporting the Ukrainian people,” according to the presidential office.
South Korea, like Japan, has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine and non-lethal military equipment, due to limitations in their national laws on arms exports, according to both governments.
The NATO Secretary General also expressed his concern the day before about the “military support” that North Korea is giving Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, in the form of “rockets and missiles.”
The statements by the head of the Atlantic alliance came after the North Korean regime on Sunday again denied that its country had provided weapons to Russia and warned the United States of an “undesirable result” if it continues to spread such rumors.
North Korea also charged this Monday against Stoltenberg’s visit to the neighboring country and called it a “prelude to confrontation and war.”
Stoltenberg plans to leave this Monday for Japan to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other members of his executive with the same issues on the agenda as those he addressed in Seoul.