NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg is currently in Japan as part of his Asian tour. A tour, that has sparked suspicion in China.
Stoltenberg first arrived in Seoul Jan. 29. His goal has been to increase the ties with South Korea and Japan in the face of the war in Ukraine and the rising competition with China. A trip that has caused concern in Beijing.
Since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, China has blamed NATO for provoking Russia, and accused the US for seeking to orchestrate an alliance in the Asia-Pacific.
During an interview, Jens Stoltenberg told Yonhap News agency that he strongly believes that it’s important to strengthen the partnership between Korea, Japan and NATO for security reasons.
“What happens in the Asia-Pacific matters for Europe and NATO and vice versa,” he said, adding that though NATO remains focused on Europe and North America, its members are still affected by issues transpiring globally.
“China poses a challenge to our values, to our interests and to our security,” Stoltenberg said at the CHEY Institute in Seoul on Monday, according to a transcript on NATOs website.
Earlier he has been stating, that NATO needs to address the global threats and challenges, including the challenges coming from China, and a way to do that, is by working with countries in the region.
In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministrys spokesperson, Mao Ning, told reporters Monday, that NATO has constantly gone beyond its traditional areas of defense and strengthened military and security ties with Asia-Pacific countries.
“Such development call for high vigilance among regional countries,” Mao Ning added.