On Monday, Jens Stoltenberg issued a plea in Seoul, the South Korean capital.

Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of NATO, has called for South Korea to increase their military assistance for Ukraine, mentioning that other states have shifted their positions regarding exporting arms to countries embroiled in conflict since the Russian invasion.

His journey to Asia aims to heighten connections with the continent’s democratic partners in opposition to the conflict in Ukraine and the increasing rivalry with China. He is currently in the city, the first leg of his Asian voyage, which will also incorporate visits to Japan.

Stoltenberg conferred with high-ranking South Korean representatives that the occurrences in Europe, North America, and the rest of the world are related. Therefore, the alliance hopes to address international issues by developing more ties in Asia.

At the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies in Seoul, he expressed his gratitude to South Korea for the nonlethal aid they have provided Ukraine and asked that they increase their efforts. He stated that there is a “strong necessity” for ammunition. Russia refers to the invasion as a “special operation.”

He indicated that nations such as Germany and Norway had been following rules which prevented them from shipping weapons to countries in conflict. However, this was changed after Putin instructed the invasion of Ukraine in February 2014. 

A MIM-14 Nike-Hercules of South Korea on display at the “War Memorial of Korea” Museum in Seoul. (Source: Mosbatho/Wikimedia Commons)

Additionally, he asserted that if South Korea values freedom and democracy and rejects the notion of autocracy and totalitarianism, it is essential that such admirable values are provided with weapons.

Recently, South Korea has become an increasingly prominent exporter of weapons worldwide, having sealed accords to supply tanks to numerous European countries, comprising NATO-member Poland. Nonetheless, the laws of South Korea ban the sale of arms to countries embroiled in active conflict, making it troublesome for Seoul to supply arms directly to Kyiv.

In 2021, South Korea inaugurated its initial diplomatic office at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Stoltenberg commented that the resolution of the situation in Ukraine is still uncertain, noting that Putin was preparing for further military actions and obtaining armaments from other nations, such as North Korea.

According to an announcement from North Korean media on Monday, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit was seen as a “sign of potential confrontation and armed conflict as it has sparked the dark shadows of a ‘new Cold War’ in the Asia-Pacific region.”

North Korea's ballistic missile
North Korea’s ballistic missile (Source: Stefan Krasowski/Wikimedia Commons)

The North Korean government on Sunday rejected the notion that it had supplied weapons to Moscow, branding the idea a “groundless rumor” that we had propagated.

Kwon Jong Gun, director general of North Korea’s Department of US Affairs, declared that any attempt to harm the country’s reputation by inventing something that does not exist is a severe action that cannot be accepted and will most definitely be reacted to.

He labeled the attempt to arm Ukraine “foolish.”

On the other hand, President Joe Biden declared that 31 Abrams tanks, a formidable and highly advanced armament of the US Army, would be given to Kyiv to counter Russian incursions.