Nato chief urges South Korea to ‘step up’ military aid for Ukraine
Seoul, Jan 30 (EFE).- Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg urged South Korea to “step up” its military support for Ukraine during a two-day trip to the Asian country.
Stoltenberg’s comments came after he had met with South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday to increase the North Atlantic alliance’s cooperation with its Asian partners amid China’s rising military capabilities and influence in the region and North Korea’s military and nuclear threats.
“I urge the Republic of Korea to continue and to step up on the specific issue of military support,” the Nato secretary general said during an event at the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies in Seoul, according to Yonhap news agency.
“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,” Stoltenberg said, talking of countries like Germany and Sweden, which recently decided to deploy heavy weapons to Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing military offensive.
Following Stoltenberg’s meeting with president Yoon, the South Korean leader was quoted as saying that he would “continue to fulfill all possible roles in cooperation with the international community to help the Ukrainian people,” according to Yonhap news agency.
Both South Korea and Japan participated in Nato’s July 2021 summit in Madrid as observers and have sent humanitarian aid and non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine. But both nations have export restrictions when it comes to trading weapons.
Stoltenberg highlighted the importance of unity among countries that believe in “freedom and democracy” and flagged concerns over the military support North Korea was allegedly providing Russia in the form of rockets and missiles.
He added that links between Pyongyang and Moscow require the rest of the world to stay “interconnected” in global security efforts.
The Nato chief’s remarks came a day after a North Korean official denied that his country had provided weapons to Russia and warned the United States of an “undesirable outcome” if it continued to voice such claims.
North Korea slammed Stoltenberg’s visit to Seoul on Monday saying the move was a “prelude” to war that could bring a “new cold war” to the Asia-Pacific region, according to North Korean state media.
Stoltenberg is due to arrive in Japan later on Monday, where he will meet with Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida and hold several high-level meetings during his two-day visit. EFE