TOKYO, Japan: In light of a tense security environment following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Moscow's growing military cooperation with China, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and Japanese premier Fumio Kishida have pledged to strengthen ties.
The intentions were made in a statement issued during Stoltenberg's trip to Japan, following a visit to South Korea, in which he urged Seoul to increase military support to Ukraine.
"The world is at a historical inflection point in the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II," the two leaders said in the statement.
Stoltenberg told reporters that a Russian victory in Ukraine would embolden China at a time when it is building up its military, "bullying its neighbors and threatening Taiwan."
He added, "This war is not just a European crisis, but the challenge to the world order."
"Beijing is watching closely, and learning lessons that may influence its future decisions. What is happening in Europe today, could happen in East Asia tomorrow," Stoltenberg added.
Responding to similar comments Stoltenberg made during his Seoul visit, China has said it was a partner to countries, not a challenge, and that it did not threaten any nation's interests or security.
The meeting comes as Japan prepares to host the annual Group of Seven summit in May, when Russia's invasion of Ukraine is expected to be a major topic of discussion.