NATO’s Stoltenberg Wraps Up Two-Day Visit To South Korea 


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrapped up a two-day visit to the Republic of Korea on Monday (30 January 2023) with talks with President Yoon Suk Yeol. The two leaders discussed common security challenges and how to strengthen the Alliance’s partnership with Seoul. 

The Secretary General and President Yoon agreed on the need to keep pressure on North Korea to abandon its reckless missile and nuclear activities. They also discussed the importance of support for Ukraine’s self-defence, a principle enshrined in the UN Charter. Mr. Stoltenberg praised the Republic of Korea’s principled stance on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, as well as its contributions to NATO’s humanitarian support for Ukraine. Noting that transatlantic and Indo-Pacific security are deeply interconnected, the Secretary General stressed the importance of like-minded democracies standing together to protect the international rules-based order. 

Speaking to students at the CHEY Institute for Advanced Studies, Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that “what happens in Europe matters to the Indo-Pacific, and what happens in Asia matters to NATO.” He noted that NATO and the Republic of Korea share common values and concerns and underlined that the Alliance is committed to working with the Republic of Korea and other like-minded partners to promote peace and preserve the international rules-based order.  

Meeting with Foreign Minister Park Jin on Sunday (29 January 2023), the Secretary General welcomed the Republic of Korea’s new Mission to NATO, which demonstrates the increased importance of the partnership between NATO and the Republic of Korea. The two leaders discussed Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and shared concerns over North Korea. Mr. Stoltenberg condemned North Korea’s nuclear programme and reckless ballistic missile tests. “We also know that North Korea is providing military support to the Russian war efforts with rockets and missiles, and this just highlights how we are interconnected,” he said. The Secretary General said he looked forward to deepening cooperation between NATO and the Republic of Korea in areas including cyber defence, technology and arms control and non-proliferation. 

Earlier on Sunday, the Secretary General laid a wreath at the Seoul National Cemetery in tribute to the thousands of veterans buried there.

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