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NATO summit crucial deal NK Russia ties

President Yoon Suk Yeol may discuss North Korea-Russia ties at NATO summit, facing pressure to counter Pyongyang-Moscow treaty. Opportunity for cooperation.

President Yoon Suk Yeol recently engaged in discussions with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson during a summit that brought together North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and their Indo-Pacific partner countries in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 12, 2023. This meeting raised concerns about the potential impact of the growing alliance between North Korea and Russia, urging South Korea to leverage the upcoming NATO summit in Washington from July 9 to 11 to address this issue.

While it remains uncertain whether President Yoon Suk Yeol will attend the NATO summit, South Korea was invited as one of the AP4 countries, which includes non-NATO partners in the Indo-Pacific region like Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Yoon's potential participation in the summit would mark his third involvement in discussions with Washington's European allies.

During last year's summit in Lithuania, Yoon emphasized the need for NATO's collective response to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, highlighting the threat posed by Pyongyang to European nations. As North Korea continues to supply arms to Russia for the conflict in Ukraine and deepens its military cooperation through a new treaty with Moscow, South Korea has an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and advocate for collaborative efforts between democracies in Northeast Asia and Europe.

With Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent threats to alter Moscow's nuclear doctrine and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine likely to dominate discussions at the NATO summit, there is a chance for Seoul to align its stance with the United States in addressing the North Korean arms supply to Russia and the Pyongyang-Moscow treaty. By emphasizing the similarities in security concerns faced in the Indo-Pacific and NATO's Article 5 territory, there is potential for increased cooperation against collective threats.

As the U.S. seeks to strengthen ties between NATO and its Indo-Pacific allies, South Korea may echo this sentiment and express its commitment to countering North Korean provocations and the Pyongyang-Moscow treaty. It is essential for South Korea to align its position with that of the U.S. at the NATO summit while avoiding excessive proposals that could disrupt the delicate balance of alliances in the region. By engaging in these discussions, South Korea can play a crucial role in addressing the complex geopolitical challenges posed by the North Korean and Russian alliance.

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