Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the press conference held at the National Press Club in Seoul, Republic of Korea

  • 12 Apr. 2013 -
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  • Last updated: 12 Apr. 2013 17:13

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

It is a great pleasure to visit the Republic of Korea. And a particular honour to be the first Secretary General of NATO to come here on this long-planned trip.
NATO is an alliance of democracies. So we share values and a common approach to security with your country.
NATO is also a security organisation. Today’s security challenges are global. And in many cases, the most effective way to deal with them is to work with partners from around the globe.
So I came to say thank you to President Park, to members of her administration, and to the Speaker of your National Assembly, for your country's contribution to global peace and stability. You are playing an exemplary role in Afghanistan and you are cooperating with NATO in countering the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
In my meetings, I also reiterated NATO's strong condemnation of North Korea's provocative rhetoric and provocative actions. We have been watching with grave concern the series of statements, missile launches and nuclear tests. They pose a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability.
North Korea stands in continued defiance of the will of the international community. I urge the North Korean authorities to immediately stop such destabilising actions and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, which are in blatant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. I call on Pyongyang to refrain from any further provocations and to fulfil its international obligations to fully implement all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.
NATO's global perspective does not mean that we seek a presence in the Asia-Pacific region. What it does mean is that we seek to engage with the Asia-Pacific region. And the Republic of Korea is a key partner in this endeavour.    
Our partnership is based on converging global priorities: stability in Afghanistan, cyber security, counter-piracy, defence against terrorism, and non-proliferation. We share common views on these shared security challenges.
And I am confident our cooperation with partners such as the Republic of Korea will also continue. In Afghanistan, we have learned the skills we need to work together, and the value of working together. Those are lessons we must keep, and build on. 
NATO’s partnership with the Republic of Korea is still young. But it has great potential.
For example, I would like to see us work together more in the field of military education and training. To make sure that our service-men and women maintain the ability to work together they have developed in Afghanistan.
I would like to see us step up cooperation in the field of logistics. So that we can better support the forces that we deploy together.
And I would like to see us explore the potential for more cooperation in the field of disaster relief. So that together, we are able to bring help to those who need it, when they need it.
These are just some examples of what we could do together. And I am sure that we can find more. 
Because our partnership is based on common values. A common approach to many security issues. And a common understanding of the need for international dialogue, and international cooperation.
The dialogue and cooperation between NATO and the Republic of Korea are strong. And my visit is a clear signal that we are determined to make our partnerships even stronger in the future.
With that, I am ready to take your questions.