TOKYO (AP) — NATO Secretary-Common Jens Stoltenberg sharply criticized China on Tuesday for “bullying its neighbors and threatening Taiwan” and confused the necessity for Japan and different democracies to work along with the alliance to defend the worldwide order.
Calling it a “crucial second for NATO and for Japan,” Stoltenberg, who’s visiting Tokyo, mentioned China and Russia are “main an authoritarian pushback in opposition to worldwide rules-based order.”
You are reading: NATO chief urges closer ties with Japan to defend democracy
He mentioned trans-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific safety are “deeply interconnected,” and a victory by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine would ship a message that authoritarian regimes can obtain their targets by means of brute drive. “That is harmful,” he mentioned.
“China is watching intently and studying classes that will affect its future selections,” Stoltenberg mentioned at a joint information convention with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
“China is considerably build up its navy forces together with nuclear weapons, bullying its neighbors and threatening Taiwan, attempting to manage crucial infrastructure and spreading misinformation about NATO and the struggle in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg mentioned. “China will not be our adversary, however we should perceive the dimensions of the problem and work collectively to handle it.”
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Stoltenberg’s direct criticism of China contrasted with Kishida’s extra oblique expression of opposition to any one-sided adjustments by drive to the established order within the East and South China Seas.
Japan, already a detailed ally of the US, has lately expanded its navy ties with different Indo-Pacific nations in addition to with Britain, Europe and NATO amid a rising safety menace from China and North Korea.
It was fast to hitch in U.S.-led financial sanctions in opposition to Russia’s struggle in Ukraine and offered humanitarian assist and non-combative protection tools for Ukrainians. That was primarily due to Japanese concern that Russian aggression in Europe could possibly be mirrored in Asia, the place issues are rising over rising Chinese language assertiveness and escalating tensions over its declare to Taiwan.
On the information convention, Kishida welcomed NATO’s deepening curiosity and engagement within the Indo-Pacific area and introduced that Japan will open a delegation workplace at NATO and plans to often attend council conferences and chiefs of protection conferences to advertise nearer communication between Japan and the alliance.
Kishida mentioned he and Stoltenberg agreed to advance ties in areas comparable to our on-line world, area, disinformation, and demanding and rising expertise.
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Japan’s authorities issued a brand new nationwide safety technique in December stating its willpower to construct up its navy and deploy long-range missiles to preempt enemy assaults, in a significant break from its post-World Struggle II precept that restricted itself to self-defense. Japan additionally plans to almost double its protection spending over 5 years and hopes to additional ease restrictions on arms exports to strengthen its protection trade.
Stoltenberg arrived in Japan late Monday from South Korea, the place he referred to as for Seoul to present direct navy assist to Ukraine to assist it struggle off the extended Russian invasion. Up to now, Seoul has solely offered humanitarian assist and different assist, citing a long-standing coverage of not supplying weapons to international locations in battle.
North Korea condemned Stoltenberg’s visits to South Korea and Japan, saying that NATO was attempting to place its “navy boots within the area” and trying to strain America’s Asian allies into offering weapons to Ukraine.
In an announcement launched by the state-run Korean Central Information Company, North Korea criticized growing cooperation between NATO and U.S. allies in Asia as a course of to create an “Asian model of NATO” that will elevate tensions within the area.