NATO chief asks S Korea to ‘step up’ military support for Ukraine | NATO News

Jens Stoltenberg asked Seoul to reconsider its policy of banning arms exports to countries with conflicts.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general, has urged South Korea to “increase” its military support for Ukraine, citing that other governments have changed their policy of exporting weapons to conflict countries after the invasion. of Russia.

Stoltenberg made the appeal in the South Korean capital Seoul on Monday.

He is in the city on the first leg of an Asia tour that will also include stops in Japan and aims to forge ties with democratic allies in the region in the face of the global crisis. war in ukraine and increased competition with China.

In meetings with senior South Korean officials, Stoltenberg argued that events in Europe and North America had connections to other regions and that the alliance wanted to help manage global threats by How to strengthen partnerships in Asia.

Speaking at the Chey Institute for Advanced Study in Seoul, he thanked South Korea for its non-lethal weapons aid to Ukraine but called on the country to do more, adding that there was an “urgent need” for Ukraine to do more. ammunition. Russia called the invasion a “special operation”.

He points out that countries like Germany and Norway have a “longstanding policy of not exporting arms to countries in conflict.” Revision after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine last February.

“If we believe in freedom, democracy, if we don’t want dictatorship and totalitarianism to win, then they need weapons,” he said.

Korea is one increasingly important global arms exporter and recently signed agreements to sell hundreds of tanks to European countries, including Poland, a NATO member. However, South Korean law prohibits arms exports to conflicting countries, which Seoul says makes it difficult to supply weapons directly to Kiev.

south Korea opened Its first diplomatic mission to NATO was last year.

Stoltenberg said it was unclear when the conflict in Ukraine would end, saying Putin was preparing for “more war” and actively buying weapons from countries, including North Korea.

In a statement released by state media on Monday, North Korea called Stoltenberg’s visit “a prelude to confrontation and war as it brings the dark clouds of a ‘Cold War’.” new’ for the Asia-Pacific region”.

Pyongyang on Sunday refuse to send weapons to Moscow, accusing the US of spreading “baseless rumors”.

“Trying to tarnish the image of [North Korea] by fabricating something that does not exist is a serious act of provocation that should never be allowed and that cannot but trigger its response,” said Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Ministry of Health Affairs. The United States of North Korea said.

He also called it “a foolish attempt to justify supplying arms to Ukraine”.

Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden promised 31 Abrams tanks, one of the US military’s most powerful and sophisticated weapons, to help Kiev fend off Moscow’s invasion.

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