NATO Allies and Indo-Pacific Partners Unite Amid Global Security Challenges

In the midst of the third year of the conflict in Ukraine, NATO is well-positioned to deepen its military connections with these four non-member allies, as China and Russia are forging stronger ties to challenge the United States, and both Koreas are supporting opposing sides in the European conflict.

The leaders of South Korea, Japan, and New Zealand will be in attendance at the NATO summit, which begins on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., for the third year in a row. The deputy prime minister of Australia will also be present. China will be closely watching the summit because it is worried about the alliance’s growing influence beyond of Europe and the Western Hemisphere.

“Increasingly, partners in Europe see challenges halfway around the world in Asia as being relevant to them, just as partners in Asia see challenges halfway around the world in Europe as being relevant to them,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week at the Brookings Institution.

According to the country’s top diplomat, the United States has been attempting to dismantle obstacles that separate Asian coalitions, European alliances, and other international allies. “That’s part of the new landscape, the new geometry that we’ve put in place.”

On Tuesday, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan announced that four new cooperative initiatives focusing on disinformation, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and Ukraine will be initiated by NATO allies and Indo-Pacific partners.

“Each initiative is different, but the main goal is the same: harness the unique strengths of highly capable democracies to address shared challenges,” Sullivan said at the defense industry forum.

As competition between the United States and China intensifies, nations with similar security concerns are fortifying their bonds. The Chinese leadership views Washington’s attempts to curtail Beijing’s ambition to challenge the U.S.-led world order as a Cold War-era tactic meant to contain China’s inevitable ascent.

Beijing has taken offense at the idea of expanding collaboration between NATO and its four Indo-Pacific allies.

Lin Jian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, accused NATO of “breaching its boundary, expanding its mandate, reaching beyond its defense zone and stoking confrontation.”

The case for increased collaboration between the United States, Europe, and their Asian allies has been strengthened by the conflict in Ukraine, which has set the West against Russia and its allies. According to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, “Ukraine of today may be East Asia of tomorrow,” as he stated in April before the US Congress.

Pyongyang has been accused by the United States and South Korea of providing Russia with munitions, and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a military cooperation agreement with Kim Jong Un during his visit to North Korea last month.

Japan and South Korea, meanwhile, are providing Ukraine with humanitarian aid and military equipment. Additionally, according to the United States, China is giving Russia access to machine tools, microelectronics, and other technologies that enable it to produce weapons against Ukraine. 

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will deliver Washington “a strong message regarding the military cooperation between Russia and North Korea and discuss ways to enhance cooperation among NATO allies and Indo-Pacific partners,” his principal deputy national security adviser, Kim Tae-hyo, told reporters.