NATO chief eyes Indo-Pacific cooperation as Putin visits North Korea


Washington, June 19 (IANS/DPA) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the importance of expanding cooperation between the Western military alliance and partners in the Indo-Pacific region, amid a visit to North Korea by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Putin’s visit to North Korea demonstrates and confirms the very close alignment between Russia and authoritarian states like North Korea, but also China and Iran,” Stoltenberg said at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Tuesday.

“This also demonstrates that our security is not regional. It’s global. What happens in Europe matters for Asia, and what happens in Asia matters for us,” Stoltenberg said, adding “This is demonstrated in Ukraine, where Iran, North Korea, and China are propping up, fuelling Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine”.

The NATO Chief went on to say that the “idea that we can divide security into regional theatres doesn’t work anymore… Everything is intertwined and therefore we need to address these challenges together”.

Stoltenberg also highlighted concerns about Moscow’s potential support for Pyongyang “when it comes to supporting their missile and nuclear programmes,” stressing this is another reason to strengthen cooperation with partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

Putin arrived in North Korea on Tuesday evening for a two-day state visit against the backdrop of Russia’s war with Ukraine.

The Kremlin leader was received at the airport by North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

According to observers, the leaders will discuss arms deliveries from Pyongyang, among other things.



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