March 26, 2023

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday called on South Korea to “intensify” its military aid to Ukraine, suggesting that it revise its policy of not supplying arms to countries at war.

“If we believe in freedom, in democracy, if we don’t want autocracies and totalitarianism to prevail, then they need weapons,” Stoltenberg said Monday at the Chey Institute in Seoul. , calling on Seoul to do more for Kyiv.

He had met senior South Korean government officials the day before, including Foreign Minister Park Jin, as part of a tour to strengthen ties between NATO and its allies in Asia.

South Korea is an increasingly important arms exporter on a global level and it recently signed contracts to sell several hundred tanks to European countries, including Poland, a member of the Atlanticist organization.

But its laws prevent it from selling them to nations at war, making it difficult to deliver arms to Ukraine, to which Seoul has still provided non-lethal equipment and humanitarian aid.

kyiv “urgently needs more ammunition”, said Jens Stoltenberg, pointing out that countries like Germany and Norway, which had arms export laws similar to South Korea’s, revised their policy to support Kyiv.

South Korea opened its first diplomatic mission to NATO last year.

China’s challenge

Mr Stoltenberg claimed it was “extremely important that President Putin does not win this war”, believing it would make the world more dangerous.

In the event of a Russian victory, “the message to authoritarian leaders, also in this part of the world, in Beijing, will be that the use of force is the way to get what you want,” he said.

He added that NATO does not see China as an “adversary” and believes in common engagement on issues ranging from arms control to climate change.

NATO allies continue to trade with China, but Europe’s energy vulnerability, highlighted by the war, proves that one should not become “too dependent on authoritarian powers”, he added.

The NATO Secretary General also warned that the Russian army was preparing for a new war effort and was receiving weapons in particular from North Korea, according to information provided by the White House.

Pyongyang denied on Sunday and warned that the United States would expose itself to a “really undesirable result” if it continued to spread this “rumor created from scratch”.

The North Korean government has called the accusation a “stupid attempt to justify” the upcoming shipment of military vehicles to Ukraine by Washington, which last week promised the delivery of 31 Abrams tanks to Kyiv.

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