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NATO chief: Japan, NATO need to work closely

BRUSSEL (Jiji Press) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday underlined the need for NATO and Japan to cooperate with each other in tackling their common challenges.

“We all understand that even though Japan and NATO are geographically far apart from each other, we share the same values,” Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers that started in Brussels the same day.

“We need to work closely together, both to protect our core values, democracy, international rules-based order, but also for instance, to address the challenges posed by a more assertive China,” he said.

A foreign ministers meeting of NATO member countries and their partners in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, will also be held in the Belgian capital on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi will take part in the meeting.

The foreign chiefs are expected to reaffirm the unity of democratic countries amid growing concerns about cooperation between China and Russia over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, sources familiar with the situation said.

NATO leaders, when they met last year, agreed to place measures against China as a pillar of the group’s new strategic concept. The leaders aim to compile the new concept in their next meeting in June.

“In the strategic concept, we need to address the security consequences of Russia’s aggressive actions, of the shifting global balance of power, the security consequences of a much stronger China and the challenges Russia and China are posing together to our rules-based international order and our democratic values,” Stoltenberg said.

He suggested that NATO will work together with its partners in the Asia-Pacific, such as Japan, on issues like maritime security and cyber defense.