The NATO alliance – a defense and security organization made up of 28 nations and led by the United States – have signed an agreement on Tuesday with Japan to cooperate in keeping security and stability in their respective regions. The agreement was signed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to NATO headquarters, with NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen saying that this “individual partnership and cooperation program” will serve as a roadmap for future joint activities between NATO and Japan.
“NATO, which shares our fundamental values, is indeed our natural partner,” Abe said in a speech made in front of the ambassadors of the alliance members. “Together, we triumphed in the Cold War,” he added. Rasmussen revealed that the new agreement will focus on issues such as counter-piracy, disaster relief and humanitarian aid. “There is no doubt the security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic and Asian-Pacific regions cannot be treated separately,” Rasmussen said in a news conference. “In this time of crisis, our dialogue with like-minded partners like Japan is key to address global security challenges.” The agreement to this new program comes at a time when NATO is at a crisis concerning the intentions of President Vladimir Putin’s Russia in the Ukraine. Japan, on the other hand, has security challenges of its own, with its territorial disputes with China stirring up tension in the region.
“In the East China Sea, we have seen persistent intrusions into Japan’s territorial waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands,” Abe said in a written statement provided by Japanese officials. “The number of times that Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) aircraft scramble in response to military aircraft approaching our territorial airspace has now reached the same level as during the height of the Cold War.” Abe said that peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific is Japan’s top priority. “We will act in cooperation with any nation who seeks to play a constructive role toward that end,” he concluded.
[via ABC News]
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