Joint press point
with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe
Prime Minister Abe, welcome back to NATO. It is a great pleasure and great honour to have you here and you have been here before and it’s always great to welcome back a good friend of NATO to the NATO Headquarters.
Three years ago, you came here to sign a Partnership and Cooperation Programme with the Alliance. On that day, you called Japan and NATO “natural partners” and I totally agree with you. Japan is NATO’s longest-standing partner from outside the Euro-Atlantic area.
We have worked together for years to help stabilise Afghanistan. Your outstanding financial contributions - including to NATO Trust Funds - are deeply appreciated. We have also worked side-by-side to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia and I appreciate Japan’s contribution of staff officers to NATO, in particular to support us on the important work we do on Women, Peace and Security. This will allow us to deepen our cooperation even further. Including in the areas of information-sharing, and participation in training and exercises.
In the future, we could also look into further maritime cooperation and expand our dialogue on security challenges. We should seek to deepen our cyber defence cooperation, where NATO sees Japan as a key partner.
Because global challenges require global responses.
We also very much value our political dialogue with Japan on issues of mutual concern, including North Korea. Since last December, we have addressed the North Korean threat at two Council meetings with our four Asia-Pacific partners: Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Pyongyang continues its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. And the missile ranges are increasing. All of these nuclear and missile tests are a clear breach of UN Security Council Resolutions and a threat to international peace and security.
Our position on North Korea is very clear. North Korea must comply with its international obligations. Stop all activities related to its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes. Abandon all existing weapons of mass destruction programmes once and for all.
And engage in real dialogue with the international community.
Prime Minister Abe, thank you again for coming to NATO HQ and thank you for the kind invitation to visit Tokyo later this year.
I look forward to working with you to further deepen our valuable and important partnership and cooperation.
So thank you so much.