NATO Wants To Increase Cooperation With South Korea, Non-Members

Soldiers in South Korean Army unit tasked with protecting civilian aid workers that the country is sending to Afghanistan.

From Yonhap News Agency:  The world’s biggest military alliance, NATO, is looking to increase cooperation with South Korea and other partners beyond Europe and North America to meet global challenges such as proliferation and piracy, a senior NATO official said Tuesday.

"Our security interests and security interests of countries like Korea coincide today more than ever," Dirk Brengelmann, NATO’s assistant secretary general for political affairs and security policy, said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

"NATO’s intention is not to become a global police. We intend to remain a Euro-Atlantic organization. But it’s at the same time necessary to do cooperation with these (non-member) partners. There’s an ever-increasing web of partnerships and cooperation," he said.

Brengelmann was to wrap up his two-day stay in Seoul later Tuesday following the third annual policy consultation talks between South Korea and NATO. Brengelmann’s NATO delegation will also visit Japan and China for similar policy talks.

The German diplomat, who had served in missions in Haiti and Britain before being appointed to his current post in March this year, pointed to South Korea’s reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan as an example of cooperation. Seoul has joined NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the war-ravaged nation.

"We share interest when it comes to sound security policy," Brengelmann said, noting that it was "a happy coincidence" that he was in Seoul only a few days after South Korea launched its Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Afghanistan.  (photo: AP)

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