The secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said Europe is within range of North Korean missiles.
In an interview with Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, Jens Stoltenberg said he is concerned North Korea could potentially threaten Europe with its weapons of mass destruction.
“We recognize that Europe has also entered the [North Korean] missile range, and NATO member states are already in danger,” Stoltenberg said. “NATO has protected its member countries from the threat of ballistic missiles through deterrence.”
In a separate interview with Japan’s Jiji Press, Stoltenberg said, “NATO has the capabilities and the resolve to respond to any threat and to any aggressor.”
Stoltenberg is visiting Japan and South Korea this week.
The NATO chief said he supports diplomatic efforts that would lead to a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.
Influential countries like Russia needs to fully implement sanctions resolutions, he added.
On Monday Stoltenberg met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.
The two sides agreed to work together to maximize pressure on North Korea, NHK reported.
According to the report, Stoltenberg said he wished to strengthen solidarity with Japan to counter the North Korean nuclear threat.
Kono said confirmation of solidarity between Japan and NATO is welcome news amid a “difficult” time for East Asian security.
Stoltenberg is scheduled to visit Seoul Wednesday through Friday, a few days before U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, according to Yonhap.
By Elizabeth Shim