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Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum

626-376-7460

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July 10, 2023

President Biden is in Europe now and he will attend the NATO summit: officially termed the 2023 Vilnius summit scheduled to take place on 11–12 July 2023, in Vilnius. In the summit, world leaders are set to discuss the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as Ukraine and Sweden‘s prospective memberships in NATO.

It is beyond doubt that the Ukraine war was related to the NATO expansion which is opposed by Russia. As of now, NATO is the staunchest supporter of Ukraine even though the future of the war is by no means clear. But Ukraine has suffered the most in terms of “war causalities” and the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine is going to take years and even generations. Of course, Russia is paying the price of war too, yet Putin is very secure in Russia. On the other hand, many EU nations are facing the consequences:

  1. Energy Security caused economic hardships.
  2. How long can they support the war in Ukraine?
  3. How to manage the post-war relationship with Russia?

Under Biden administration, the US leads the west against Russia in the Ukraine war. But the US general election is scheduled for next November, US domestic challenges are the utmost voters’ attention. The war in Ukraine, how was it started and how the war should end and when, will become a challenge for Biden’s reelection bids.

In that context, it is important to note that:

AustraliaJapanNew Zealand and South Korea will attend the summit to strengthen their ties with NATO due to increasing tensions with China and Russia.

  1. Is the US led alliance ready or capable to initiate or manage “two global wars” at the same time?
  2. NATO was established in the cold war era, by nature, it is a military alliance to counter Soviet Union or now Russia in Europe. As of now, NATO is deeply entrenched to fight Russia in Ukraine. How much resources or capacity will NATO be able to re-direct against China?
  3. It is interesting to note that the head of states from Indo-pacific rushing to attend this NATO summit. The first question is how these four nations, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea can contribute to NATO’s war against Russia?
  4. The second question is how NATO, as a military organization, ease the tension between China and these four nations in Indo-Pacific region?

On the other side of the ocean, China is advancing her global and regional alliances including SCO and BRIC. May be the US and China should focus on the establishment of a “new United Nations” to manage global issues.

Kishida to leave for Europe to attend NATO summit

NHK July 10, 2023

Kishida starts his four-day European tour on Tuesday. His itinerary includes a visit to Lithuania, which is hosting the NATO gathering.

This will be Kishida’s second participation in a NATO summit, following his attendance last year. He will likely stress that Japan is ready to play an active role in addressing the situation in Ukraine, based on the achievements it made at the G7 Hiroshima summit.

Kishida is expected to call for closer cooperation between Japan and the alliance, based on the belief that the security of Europe and that of the Indo-Pacific region are inseparable. Russia’s relations with China have grown warmer since its invasion of Ukraine.

Kishida’s tour will also take him to Belgium, where he is scheduled to meet EU leaders. Kishida and his EU counterparts are expected to release a joint statement, which would include a plan for Japan to expand security cooperation.

South Korea’s Yoon heads to NATO summit amid North Korea, China tensions

Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL, July 10 (Reuters) – South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol was set to depart on Monday for a summit with NATO leaders, seeking deeper international security cooperation amid rising North Korean threats and tension over China.

Yoon’s attendance at the annual NATO gathering that begins in Lithuania on Tuesday, alongside the leaders of Japan, Australia and New Zealand, will be followed by a three-day visit to Poland starting on Wednesday, his office said.

Yoon has been pushing for greater security ties with Europe and other U.S. allies to deter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, while raising its contributions to global challenges, including Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and Sino-U.S. rivalry.

Yoon this year is looking to voice stronger messages against North Korea and step up cooperation on security, supply chains and the Ukraine war, a presidential official said.

He will hold bilateral talks with several European and Asia Pacific leaders on the sidelines of the summit, and separately adopt a new document with NATO to bolster bilateral cooperation in 11 areas, including non-proliferation and cybersecurity.

A U.S. ally and rising arms exporter, South Korea may face renewed pressure to provide weapons to Ukraine, which Yoon’s administration has resisted, wary of Russian influence over North Korea. There had also been speculation in media that Yoon might visit Ukraine as part of the trip.

In a written interview with The Associated Press published on Monday, Yoon said supplies to Ukraine, including de-mining equipment and ambulances, “are in the works” and vowed support for post-war reconstruction.

Park Won-gon, a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, said Yoon’s visit in Poland could send a message of support for neighbouring Ukraine.

“The NATO summit would be a chance to reinforce cooperation with the countries that share values and norms,” Park said. “While whether President Yoon will go to Ukraine remains to be seen, it is important to voice support and solidarity as a country that can directly help them.”

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