by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at NATO - Indo-Pacific Conference
Good morning from the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
Many thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania for organising this very important conference, together with the German Marshall Fund, in the run-up to the Vilnius Summit this coming July.
We live in a more dangerous and competitive world. Our values of freedom, of democracy, and the rule of law are under pressure. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine grinds on. Authoritarian regimes in Moscow, Beijing and elsewhere are openly challenging the rules-based international order. And security threats - from terrorism to nuclear proliferation, cyber-attacks and climate change - are rising.
These common challenges require a common response. This is why NATO is deepening our partnerships, including with our highly-valued Indo-Pacific partners - Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
These countries may be far away from Alliance territory. But as our NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, security is not regional, it is global. Transatlantic security matters for Asian-Pacific security, and vice-versa.
Last year, for the first time together, the leaders of our four Indo-Pacific partners took part together in our historic Summit in Madrid. I look forward to welcoming them to the next Vilnius Summit next July.
Just a few weeks ago, we welcomed representatives from each of these countries to our Foreign Ministers’ meeting at the NATO Headquarters.
This high level of engagement is a testament to our deepening ties. Together, we are responding to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and its global repercussions.
And we are supporting Ukraine’s right to self-defence, enshrined in the UN Charter. To ensure it prevails as a sovereign, independent nation in Europe. But also to make it clear to Putin and other authoritarian leaders that aggression does not work, and that using force leads to failure.
China is watching closely. And learning lessons that may influence its future decisions.
China is not our adversary, but its assertive behaviour and coercive policies challenge our values, our interests and our security. In the Euro-Atlantic. In the Indo-Pacific. From outer space to cyber-space, and through the use of new technologies.
Beijing is using all the tools in its toolbox – political, economic, military, diplomatic – to put pressure on all our countries. So we must remain vigilant, and strengthen our resilience.
The growing alignment of Russia and China is also a concern. President Xi’s recent trip to Moscow confirms the deepening strategic partnership between the two countries.
China refuses to condemn Russia’s its unjust and unprovoked war against Ukraine. Instead, it seeks to maintain the appearance of a carefully balanced neutrality, while also amplifying Russia’s false narratives and disinformation.
So it is important for democratic countries around the world to stand together. And the more global the challenges – like climate change, terrorism or arms proliferation – the more global our approach needs to be.
This is why NATO is stepping up our partnerships with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, and other like-minded partners across the world.
To tackle shared challenges. Uphold the rules-based international order. And yes, to preserve peace.
Thank you so much for the occasion to address you, and I wish you a very productive conference. And we’re working hard to yet another exceptionally successful Summit in Vilnius next July.