The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s policy body is set to conduct a special meeting to discuss the issue of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs this week, NATO confirmed to NK News on Wednesday.
The meeting, to be held on Thursday, will be conducted by NATO’s North Atlantic Council (NAC) and represents the first NAC meeting to be held exclusively for the discussion of North Korean affairs.
“The NAC meeting tomorrow will be focused on North Korea’s actions and in particular its nuclear and missile programmes,” a NATO official told NK News on Wednesday.
According to the official, the closed door meeting is expected to produce more calls for Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and to abide by relevant UN Security Council resolutions against it.
NATO has publicly condemned several of North Korea’s actions in 2016, including its two nuclear tests and its repeat testing of ballistic missile technology.
South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) also highlighted the meeting in a press release published online on Wednesday and made an effort to draw links between South Korea diplomatic efforts and NATO’s decision to stage Thursday’s meetings.
This includes referencing a special address made to the NAC by South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se in October specifically on the topic of North Korea’s nuclear program.
“NATO’s plan to hold the special meeting and to issue a strong message to North Korea is seen as a tangible result of the Republic of Korea’s diplomatic activities toward NATO to seek its cooperation against the Korean nuclear program,” the press release reads.
The MOFA press release also stated that South Korea and NATO would be looking to further cooperate and to “work more closely together”, with Second Vice Minister Ahn Chong-ghee set to meet NATO Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller prior to the meeting.
NATO has also invited Ahn to attend the NAC meeting on Thursday and other non-member states such as Australia, Japan, and New Zealand will also be attending, the NATO official told NK News.
Since 2005 South Korea and NATO have developed their relationship from dialogue to cooperation, furthered by the 2012 signing of an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme.
The programme promotes political dialogue and practical cooperation in areas such as responses to terrorism, multinational peace support operations and enhancing interoperability, according to NATO’s website.
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Featured Image: NATOs hovedkvarter by Utenriksdept on 2012-04-19 11:47:52