The Alliance looks forward to stepping up its partnership with the Republic of Korea, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday (12 April 2013) during a three-day long-planned visit to Seoul, the first ever by a NATO Secretary General. “NATO’s partnership with the Republic of Korea is still young, but it has great potential,” he said.
The Secretary General is in the Republic of Korea for talks with President Park Guen-hye as well as with other top government officials to explore ways of expanding cooperation.“Today’s security challenges are global and in many cases the most effective way to deal with them is to work with partners from around the globe,” Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.
He underlined that “NATO’s global perspective does not mean that we seek a presence in the Asia-Pacific region. What it does mean is that we seek to engage with the Asia-Pacific region. And the Republic of Korea is a key partner in this endeavour”.
He said that NATO and Korea faced the same security challenges, such as piracy, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and cyber attacks, which can only be dealt with through increased cooperation. The Secretary General suggested closer cooperation in areas like logistics, military education and training, and disaster relief. “The dialogue and cooperation between NATO and the Republic of Korea are strong. And my visit is a clear signal that we are determined to make our partnerships even stronger in the future”, said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.
The Alliance and the Republic of Korea are already working together in many areas, including Afghanistan, where Korean personnel have operated a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Parwan and provided financial aid to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund. The Secretary General said it was important for NATO and its partners to build on their cooperation developed during the Afghan mission. “In Afghanistan we have learned the skills we need to work together and the value of working together. Those are lessons we must keep and build on,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.
Regarding the situation in the Korean peninsula, the Secretary General reiterated NATO’s strong condemnation of North Korea’s actions, which he said “pose a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability.”
“North Korea stands in continued defiance of the will of the international community. I urge the North Korean authorities to immediately stop such destabilising actions and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, which are in blatant violation of United Nations Security resolutions. I call on Pyongyang to refrain from any further provocations and to fulfil its international obligations to fully implement all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions”, he said.
During his visit to Seoul the Secretary General also met with Speaker of the National Assembly Kang Chang-hee, Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se and Minister of Defence Kim Kwan Jin.