7th NATO Asia-Pacific Dialogue 2017
The Dialogue is organized annually by NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Foundation), and was hosted by the Atlantic Treaty Association.
CREATING PREDICTABILITY IN ASIAN AND EUROPEAN SECURITY DYNAMICS
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed an honour to moderate such a timely discussion. I would like to start by thanking The Honourable Deputy Secretary General for giving such insightful remarks and by giving a warm thanks to NATO PDD and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung for their efforts, particularly Letizia, Antonia, Zsolt and (KAS PERSON) for their work in putting this event together.
I would like to move to the Q + A as quickly as possible so I will be brief before introducing our distinguished panelists.
Recent calls for a militarization of the Asia Pacific region, the looming threat of a nuclear armed and defiant North Korea and the complicated relationship between China and its neighbours both near and far stand at the crossroad of NATO-Asia Pacific relationships. This relationship is further dominated by a changing political and military landscape across the international scene that moves from crisis to crisis.
The US pivot to Asia launched in 2012 was met with a broader call for a simultaneous NATO pivot, recognizing the strategic and political importance of the region, especially in times of growing nationalism and protectionism.
As NATO’s relationships with countries outside of the Euro-Atlantic region have developed at an ever-increasing speed so have the security and defense challenges it has been faced with. The increasingly hostile atmosphere, the rise of new threats and NATO’s realization that a global outlook is the new normal are an illustration of the importance of trans-regional dialogues.
Moving forward will require an evaluation of the evolving challenges both NATO and the Asia Pacific are confronted with and will ultimately require an approach that can create and foster partnerships and well-rounded security and defense dynamics. Given the variety of challenges and opportunities faced by NATO and the Asia Pacific this brief will highlight areas in which NATO and the Asia Pacific can collaborate, analyze the concerns of both parties and determine what can be done under current conditions and what should be done in the future to build a framework of resilience in light of current threats.
Despite being a largely stable and affluent region, complete with its own international security arrangements such as RECAAP, ASEAN, ANZUS, 5 Eyes and others, NATO plays a critical role in engagement with Asia-Pacific partners. More importantly for many of us here, NATO has benefited tremendously from cooperating with countries in the region.
A few noteworthy examples include:
Japan’s provision of over US$200 Million towards the disarmament and reintegration of militias and illegal armed groups in Afghanistan that have been combined with a engagement in a much wider range of NATO activities, both training in peacetime and combat in emergencies.
Australia currently stands as one of the biggest contributors to NATO outside of Europe. It was one of the biggest contributors to ISAF in Afghanistan providing over 1,550 troops and actively contributed with warship deployments to the Middle East, enforcing UN backed sanctions, intercepting enemy ships and combatting piracy in the region.
New Zealand remains a key contributor to the maritime operations of NATO through the deployment of the TE MANA frigate for operation Ocean Shield. Following the American call in August 2017 for allies to dispatch more troops New Zealand was among the first to boost its military commitment. In addition, both Australia and New Zealand have equally participated in CMX scenarios and have guaranteed further cooperation on cybersecurity, crisis management, disaster relief and joint education and training.
Last but certainly not least within NATO’s partners in the Asia Pacific, is the Republic of Korea which deployed 470 troops to Afghanistan as a part of the reconstruction effort coupled with a $500 million commitment to Afghan development.
So what does all this mean for our discussion this evening,
Before turning it over to the panel please allow me to asses that as NATO continues to adapt to its 360 degree approach, its continued engagement with various institutions and governments in the Asia-Pacific region will only grow in importance.
Both the Asia-Pacific countries and NATO recognize the role that the latter can play in fostering a secure environment. This is clearly demonstrated by all of us here together in this room.
While NATO’s role and success for its members will ultimately rely on its capacity to engage with actors outside of the Atlantic, Asia-Pacific countries have a wealth of assets to bring to the table in all areas of our everyday life and security.
With that I would like to provide it over to the first panelist. Sir, the floor is yours….