NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană virtually addressed the NATO and the Indo-Pacific Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania on Friday (21 April 2023), emphasizing NATO’s commitment to working more closely with Indo-Pacific partners to address security challenges and preserve peace.
In his remarks, Mr. Geoană highlighted the global nature of security and the shared values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, which are under increasing pressure. He stressed that transatlantic security is interconnected with Indo-Pacific security.
“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine grinds on. Authoritarian regimes in Moscow, Beijing and elsewhere are openly challenging the rules-based international order,“ he said. The Deputy Secretary General also mentioned the rising security threats posed by terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber-attacks, and climate change.
Mr. Geoană emphasized the importance of a unified response to these common challenges, noting that NATO is deepening its partnerships with Indo-Pacific partners, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea.
He also stated that China is not NATO’s adversary, but that China’s assertive behavior and coercive policies “challenge our values, our interests and our security.” He added that the growing alignment of Russia and China is a concern as China refuses to condemn Russia for its unjust and unprovoked war against Ukraine. “Instead, it seeks to maintain the appearance of a carefully balanced neutrality, while also amplifying Russia’s false narratives and disinformation,” said Mr. Geoană.
To address these challenges, NATO is not only strengthening its partnership with Indo-Pacific partners but also fostering cooperation with other like-minded partners across the globe.
The conference, titled “NATO and the Indo-Pacific: Forging Deeper Partnerships,” is part of a series of conversations organized by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Marshall Fund of the United States in the lead-up to the Vilnius Summit in July. The aim of this series is to evaluate and deepen the engagement with NATO partners Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand.