BRUSSELS – The secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said he wants to discuss how to strengthen and broaden the partnership between NATO and Japan to address North Korean threats to regional stability and global issues including cyberattacks.
“I expect, of course, North Korea’s provocative actions to be the main topic during my visit to Japan,” Jens Stoltenberg said in a recent interview ahead of his four-day visit to Japan from Sunday.
“I am looking forward to go to Japan and also to (South) Korea to discuss how we can strengthen our partnership” in everything from fighting terrorism to cooperation in cyber and maritime security, and many other areas, he added.
Stoltenberg said NATO was “not directly involved in resolving the (North Korean) crisis” but “we support our partners in the region, we support the efforts of the United Nations and we support efforts to find a peaceful solution.”
To find such a solution, “pressure is necessary,” he added.
Asked about what measures NATO could take if the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam or the U.S. military in Japan were attacked by North Korea, Stoltenberg said he would not answer a hypothetical question but that NATO has the resolve and capabilities to “respond if necessary.”
Pyongyang threatened in August to fire missiles into the sea near Guam, home to about 7,000 U.S. troops and 160,000 people. It came after the reclusive state tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles. Fears have grown that the missiles will soon be able to reach the U.S. mainland and Europe.
Referring to China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea, Stoltenberg said it is important for NATO to have dialogue with Beijing.
China has been building military outposts in the South China Sea and several other Asian nations have overlapping claims in the waters.
Stoltenberg is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit and will head to South Korea on Wednesday.
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