UPDATE - North Atlantic Council meets Asia-Pacific partners, Sweden, EU in Vilnius

UPDATE - North Atlantic Council meets Asia-Pacific partners, Sweden, EU in Vilnius

What happens in Euro-Atlantic region matters to Indo-Pacific and vice versa, says NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg

UPDATES WITH COMMENTS FROM LEADERS FROM ASIA-PACIFIC; CHANGES HEADER

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AA) - The North Atlantic Council on Wednesday held a meeting with heads of state and government of Asia-Pacific partners (AP4) of NATO, prospective member Sweden and the EU.

On Day 2 of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed all of the participants in his opening remarks.

"NATO is a regional alliance between Europe and North America, but the challenges we face are global and our security is interconnected," he said.

"What happens in the Euro-Atlantic region matters to the Indo-Pacific and what happens in the Indo-Pacific matter to the Euro-Atlantic," Stoltenberg said, noting that the 14-month-old war in Ukraine continues to have global ramifications.

Warning that authoritarian regimes are coming closer together, he said: "We must stand together ... for international order."

Later in a tweet, Stoltenberg said: "Good meetings with NATO's close partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea."

He reiterated that security is not regional but global and added that they “are determined to continue deepening our cooperation."

The North Atlantic Council, NATO’s principal decision-making body, is made up of the member states’ permanent representatives, including Zeki Levent Gumrukcu of Türkiye.

Türkiye has been a member of NATO for over 70 years, and possesses the second-largest army among the member states.


- ‘Bringing voice of the region to the world stage’

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol told the summit that his country will “increase military information sharing” with NATO and assured to participate in a NATO trust fund for assistance of Ukraine.

“In today's ultra-connected era, we cannot separate the security of Europe from that of Asia," Seoul-based Yonhap News quoted Yoon as saying.

“We will also expand military information sharing with NATO," he added, without elaborating.

In a one-to-one meeting with Stoltenberg, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio vowed to deepen relations with NATO.

He said both sides “share fundamental values and strategic interests, as well as the view that unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion will not be tolerated regardless of where in the world,” Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported.

There was no indication that the NATO chief and Japanese premier discussed the idea of setting up a NATO liaison office in Tokyo.

In a statement in May, Stoltenberg welcomed Japan’s decision to open a “dedicated diplomatic mission" to the military alliance.

However, there has been no formal announcement about NATO’s first office in Asia which has faced stiff opposition from China.

France, a major NATO member, is reportedly opposing the move.

On his participation in the NATO summit, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said they were “bringing the voice of their region to the world stage.”

"Australia has been invited to the NATO Summit along with our partners from Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, because our region is increasingly important to global stability and trade," he tweeted.

Recalling his recent trip to China, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said he encouraged Beijing to “play a constructive role by using its access and influence with Russia to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict.”

"Threats to our security and resilience are not just regional, they are also global. Geography, therefore, does not determine or constrain our interests and we must have like-minded partners near and far," he said in a statement.


*Riyaz ul Khaliq in Istanbul and Islamuddin Sajid in Islamabad contributed to this story

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