TOKYO : NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen Monday welcomed an agreement due to be signed with Tokyo pledging Japan‚Äôs continued cooperation in the fight against ‚Äúemerging security challenges‚Äù.
Secretary General Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister, said he would¬† be meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later in the day to issue a joint¬† declaration on closer NATO-Japan partnership.
Thanking Japan for its past support, including in anti-piracy operations in¬† the Gulf of Aden off Somalia and in the reconstruction of Afghanistan,¬† Rasmussen said: ‚ÄúSo how can we build on these experiences?”
‚ÄúHow can NATO and Japan deepen and broaden their relationship in the future¬† to help make the world safer for all of us? First and foremost, we should¬† continue to intensify our political dialogue,‚Äù he said.
‚ÄúAnd I am delighted that later today, Prime Minister Abe and I will sign a¬† joint political declaration to guide our future work.‚Äù
The declaration highlights cooperation in managing crisis situations¬† including natural disasters and ‚Äúemerging security challenges ‚Äî terrorism,¬† cyber attacks, piracy, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and¬† their means of delivery‚Äù, he said.
Rasmussen said after NATO troops leave Afghanistan in 2014 the alliance¬† wants to continue training and assisting Afghan security forces.
‚ÄúI very much hope that Japan will continue its support for the efforts of¬† the international community in Afghanistan.‚Äù
Japan has never had a combat role in Afghanistan, but has been involved in¬† reconstruction and is a major donor.
Japanese naval ships returned home in early 2010 at the close of an¬† eight-year refuelling mission in support of US-led military operations in¬† Afghanistan at a time of strains in the US-Japan alliance.
Japan last year hosted an Afghan aid conference, where donor nations¬† pledged $16 billion for Afghanistan to prevent the country from sliding back¬† into turmoil when foreign combat troops depart, but called on Kabul to¬† implement reforms to fight graft.–AFP