NATO’s Chief Hints That South Korea Should Consider Military Aid to Ukraine
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday called on South Korea to increase its support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion and hinted that it should consider providing military aid in addition to humanitarian and economic assistance. provided by this country.
Korea condemns The Moscow War in Ukraine, participated in the imposition of sanctions against Russia, and signed agreements to provide tanks, aircraft and other military aid to Poland, a country bordering Ukraine and a NATO member. But the government in Seoul has refused to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine, citing its policy of not supplying a country with weapons in a conflict.
Mr. Stoltenberg, speaking in Seoul on Monday, thanked South Korea for support it has to offerbut suggests that it can do more than that.
“On the issue of specific military assistance, I would say that, at the end of the day, you have to make a decision,” Stoltenberg told an audience at the Chey Institute for Advanced Study, a cadastral consulting organization. in the South of the Korean capital.
“But I would say that some NATO allies, who used to have a policy of never exporting weapons to countries in conflict, have now changed that policy,” he added. He cited Germany as an example, as well as Sweden and Norway, and said South Korea should “step up” support.
Mr. Stoltenberg, who held talks on Monday with President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea, is on a trip aimed at strengthening NATO’s relationship with allies in Asia. South Korea is not a member of the alliance but has close ties to it and in November opened a diplomatic mission at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
There was no immediate reaction to Mr. Stoltenberg’s remarks from the government in Seoul. On Sunday, South Korea’s foreign ministry said Stoltenberg’s visit would focus on “ways to strengthen cooperation between South Korea and NATO.”
The United States, Britain, France, Germany and Poland this month agreed to send tanks to Ukraine, the latest move to demonstrate military support from NATO nations. But Western leaders are keen to expand the list of countries that can provide military aid, and South Korea has one of the largest standing armies in the world.
Many in South Korea have closely watched Ukraine’s war and the international response to it, as there are parallels between their situation and theirs: Russia, a nuclear-armed country , invaded Ukraine, while South Korea remained vulnerable to North Korea, nuclear weapons neighbors.