1. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Dohoon attended the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council with the Partners in the Indo-Pacific in Foreign Ministers’ Session, held in Brussels, Belgium, on April 5. In the meeting, 31 NATO member countries, four partners in the Indo-Pacific (Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand), and Sweden, as well as the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy participated in the meeting and discussed global security challenges, including the situation in Ukraine.
2. Vice Minister Lee said that Korea has been promoting the partnership with NATO, which shares the universal values of democracy, rule of law, and human rights, and that Korea will continue to strengthen cooperation with NATO to respond to global challenges. In addition, he expressed deep concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation due to the war in Ukraine, and said that the Korean government will provide additional humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
3. Furthermore, Vice Minister Lee appreciated NATO's support for Korea's efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. He said that the Korean government will continue its diplomatic efforts, anchored in the Audacious Initiative, to persuade North Korea to cease its provocations and return to the negotiating table. He asked for NATO's continued cooperation in delivering a united and consistent message from the international community on the denuclearization of North Korea.
4. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that he hopes that NATO and its partners in the Indo-Pacific will deepen cooperation in cyber issues and emerging technologies and improve interoperability. He looked forward to meeting again at the NATO Summit which will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania in July.
5. Representatives from each country who participated in the meeting stressed the importance of cooperation between NATO and partners in the Indo-Pacific to respond to interconnected global security challenges, and expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the partners in the Indo-Pacific to support Ukraine.
6. Meanwhile, ahead of the meeting, Vice Minister Lee attended a separate meeting with Secretary-General Stoltenberg and partners in the Indo-Pacific, and discussed ways for cooperation. Secretary-General Stoltenberg expressed appreciation to Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia for providing support to Ukraine, and called for continued interest and support.
7. Vice Minister Lee took note that the participation of President Yoon Suk Yeol in the NATO Summit last year and Secretary-General Stoltenberg's visit to Korea earlier this year provided an opportunity to enhance cooperation between the two sides. He hoped that the ongoing consultations on the Individually Tailored Partnership Programme (ITPP) between NATO and Korea will be finalized, and based on that, the two sides will be able to pursue greater cooperation in responding to new security challenges such as cyber issues.
8. Vice Minister Lee's participation in this year's NATO Foreign Ministers' Meeting served as an opportunity to increase the momentum of cooperation created by President Yoon Suk Yeol's participation in the NATO Summit in June 2022 and strengthen cooperation and solidarity between Korea and NATO in responding to global issues, including the situation in Ukraine and the North Korean nuclear issue.