NATO summit to address escalating North Korea-Russia military ties 

The Secretary-General also said that he expects more immediate military support for Ukraine; more bilateral security agreements; and work on deepened military interoperability…reports Asian Lite News

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit, which is scheduled to be held from July 9-11, will witness a discussion among the allies on increasing military cooperation between North Korea and Russia, VOA reported.

The organisation, comprising 32 members, will also deliberate on strategies to offer military aid to Ukraine, which has been enduring war for over two years and strengthening security relations with South Korea and Japan.

This year, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, are invited to the NATO summit. The United States, Japan and South Korea plan to meet on the sidelines of the summit, according to VOA.

One of the key highlights of the summit will include a discussion on the increasing military cooperation between North Korea and Russia.

Bruce Bennett, a senior defence analyst at the RAND Corporation, a think-tank, believes that the relationship between Russia and North Korea is a problem for NATO nations as well as Japan and South Korea.

“I expect that it will be discussed at this meeting. It may become a critical aspect of the meeting, if, by that time, intelligence is saying that North Korea is sending many military personnel to support Russia in Ukraine,” Bennett said, according to VOA.

Another expert, Matthew Brunner, a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, emphasised that NATO allies will engage in discussions regarding the implications of Russia-North Korea relations and how to address associated risks.

“Risks primarily include material outcomes, such as how North Korea’s involvement will come to bear on warfighting in Ukraine. But there are also opportunities to be exploited, including how to use increased North Korean involvement to drive a wedge between China and Russia,” Brunner said, according to VOA.

Notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on June 19 signed a comprehensive partnership agreement that supersedes previous accords from 1961, 2000, and 2001, Russian news agency TASS reported.

Elaborating on the agreement, Putin stated, “The comprehensive partnership agreement signed today includes, among other things, the provision of mutual assistance in the event of aggression against one of the parties to this agreement.”

The Russian President had hailed the pact as covering political, trade, investment, cultural, and security spheres, and labelled it a “truly breakthrough document.” Putin also criticised joint military exercises involving the United States, South Korea, and Japan as “hostile” towards North Korea, characterizing US policy as “confrontational.” In response, Kim Jong-un praised the new “alliance” as a pivotal moment in bilateral relations.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday while previewing the summit, stressed that providing support to Ukraine will be the organisation’s “most urgent task.”

“I expect heads of state and government will agree on a substantial package for Ukraine. NATO will take over the coordination and provision of most international security assistance,” Stoltenberg had said.

The Secretary-General also said that he expects more immediate military support for Ukraine; more bilateral security agreements; and work on deepened military interoperability.

Talking about other key aspects of the summit, Stoltenberg said that allies are due to endorse a pledge to strengthen transatlantic defence industrial cooperation, to boost production. He added that NATO will further enhance ballistic missile defences with a new Aegis Ashore base in Poland. (ANI)

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