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Japan must get closer to NATO – PM

Russia’s growing ties with North Korea and China pose a threat to the West and its allies, Fumio Kishida has claimed

Japan needs to deepen ties with NATO in the face of Russia’s growing ties to Asian countries, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday ahead of his visit to a NATO summit in the US. Moscow says its improving relations with China and North Korea are not aimed at any third country.

In written remarks to Reuters, the Japanese leader said that “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow,” urging the global community not to accept attempts by Russia and its allies to sabotage the established international order. He particularly pointed to Russia’s growing cooperation with North Korea as a cause for concern.

“The securities of the Euro-Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific are inseparable, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its deepened military cooperation with North Korea are strong reminders of that… Japan is determined to strengthen its cooperation with NATO and its partners,” he stated. The West has repeatedly accused Pyongyang of supplying Russia with weapons that are used on the front line, claims that both Russia and North Korea have denied.

While not naming China, Kishida noted that “some” other countries also bolster the alleged Russian threat by allegedly supplying dual-use goods which can be used for military purposes. This accusation has been repeatedly levelled by Western leaders at Beijing, which denies doing so. Kishida called on NATO and its partners to unite against “international actors fueling Russia’s attempt to change the status quo by force.”

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NATO ‘moving into Asia’ – Putin

Tokyo has taken a tough stance in the Ukraine conflict, siding with NATO, which has insisted that if Moscow were to achieve victory in Ukraine, it could move on to attack members of the bloc.

Moscow has denounced those claims as “complete nonsense,” and has defended its ties with Asian partners as normal international relationships. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed last month that the country’s cooperation with China in particular is “not directed against anyone” but is the “main stabilizing factor on the international stage” and is focused on the interests of the people.

On the other hand, Russia has often criticized Western efforts at expanded global influence, naming NATO’s expansion toward its borders and interest in Ukraine as major reasons for the launch of its military operation in February 2022.

READ MORE: Japan slaps sanctions on Chinese firms over alleged Russia links

During his visit to Vietnam last month, Putin also drew attention to NATO’s growing focus on the Asia-Pacific and attempts to “put together a bloc system” in the region, which he called a security threat to Russia and all Asian countries.

“NATO is already moving there as if to a permanent place of residence… We are obliged to respond to this and we will do so,” he said.


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