Amid deep North Korean-Russia ties, South Korea, Japan vow security cooperation with NATO

Washington: South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to bolster security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) amid deepening military cooperation between North Korea and Russia.

Yoon and Kishida on Wednesday shared the view as they met bilaterally on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington, where they were invited as leaders of the four Indo-Pacific partner nations, which also include Australia and New Zealand, reported Yonhap news agency.

The NATO summit came just weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un produced a sweeping security cooperation agreement.

Earlier on Wednesday, the NATO leaders issued a summit declaration strongly condemning North Korea’s weapons exports to Russia.

“The recent moves by Russia and North Korea are causing serious concern not only in East Asia but also for global security,” Yoon said at the start of the talks with Kishida.

“I hope that South Korea and Japan will cooperate closely with NATO member countries and reaffirm that the security of the North Atlantic and Northeast Asia cannot be separated,” he added.

Yoon said Moscow’s close alignment with Pyongyang highlights the importance of the trilateral security cooperation among South Korea, the United States and Japan, as outlined in their Camp David summit in August 2023.

“The two leaders shared concerns over the strengthening of military and economic cooperation between Russia and North Korea through the signing of the ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ treaty,” Yoon’s office said in a statement.

“They agreed that South Korea and Japan will closely cooperate and work together with the international community to address the Russia-North Korea military cooperation that violates UN Security Council resolutions,” it added.

Kishida also said the security of the two regions is “inseparable.”

“The security of the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific is inseparable. This summit provides an opportunity to deepen cooperation between NATO and our Indo-Pacific partners,” Kishida said through a translator.

Yoon and Kishida last met in Seoul in May as part of a trilateral summit with China.


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