New Telegraph

Conflicting Views On NATO’s Alliance In Asia

There may be a push for greater involvement from Asia-Pacific leaders in the alliance, but there’s no consensus on the role NATO should take in the Pacific.

While Stoltenberg and others would like to see NATO open a liaison office in Japan to enable smoother communications with its Pacific partners, French President, Emmanuel Macron is against such a plan and has informed the Secretary-General of Paris’ opposition.

According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, the French stance is reportedly that NATO is a North American and European alliance, not a global one.

France can effectively veto any Tokyo office plan as establishing it would require unanimous approval of the 31 NATO nations, according to reports

The idea of not letting NATO’s focus drift outside of the “North Atlantic” in its name is backed up by Article 5 of the NATO treaty, its mutual defence clause, which stipulates an armed attack on one alliance member is to be treated like an attack on all.

However, the article explicitly limits the response to attacks that occur in Europe and North America.

So military actions against US forces stationed in Japan or South Korea, or even the US Pacific territory of Guam, do not fall under NATO’s collective self-defence remit.

But outside of NATO, its members have been increasing their military visibility in the Pacific.

British forces have been training in Japan; a Canadian warship was accompanying a US destroyer when the American vessel was involved in a near collision with a Chinese warship in June; and German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced at the Shangri-La Dialogue defence summit last month that Berlin will send two naval vessels to the Pacific next year.


France, despite its opposition to a liaison office in Tokyo, is a frequent military visitor to the Pacific, with 10 fighter jets participating in exercises with the US in the Pacific islands even as the NATO summit is about to start in Lithuania.

And those deployments display what Stoltenberg, the secretary general, said in his op-ed.

“NATO is a regional alliance of Europe and North America, but the challenges we face are global,” he wrote, noting the summit invitations for the Pacific leaders.

“We must have a common understanding of the security risks we face and work together to strengthen the resilience of our societies, economies, and democracies.”

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