of the NATO Secretary General with representatives of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea
Ministers, Excellencies, it is really a great pleasure to welcome all of you here.
We highly value the partnership with the Indo-Pacific partners of NATO: Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.
In a more dangerous and unpredictable world, it is even more obvious that security is not regional, security is global.
What happens in your region, what happens in the Indo-Pacific matters for Europe.
And what happens in Europe matters for you.
I think the war in Ukraine demonstrates this clearly with its global ramifications.
And the fact that we also see that China and Russia are standing in closer together, makes it just even more important that we are standing together as partners.
NATO Allies and you as four highly valued partners.
So I welcome this opportunity to meet with you.
I also welcome the fact that last year was the first time ever the Heads of State and Government from your countries participated in a NATO summit.
And they are all invited again to the Summit in Vilnius, in July this year.
That will further strengthen our partnership and the way we can work together.
So I look forward to our meeting now and I look forward to you participating in the meeting with all, now thirty-one Ministers.
Because yesterday, we went from thirty to thirty-one Allies.
And then, soon also Sweden will join and then we are thirty-two.
So again, welcome. It is a great honour and pleasure to meet you.
Then we can continue. Thank you.