TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — NATO does not seek to establish a military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, the organization's Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges David van Weel said Monday (Nov. 13).
Van Weel told Nikkei Asia that he does not foresee a situation in which NATO would be involved in the region, as it is responsible for Euro-Atlantic security. However, he said the organization would “strongly discourage China from taking any actions that will change the status quo of Taiwan as it is right now.”
"The most important thing is that China realizes that they shouldn't take any unilateral steps to change the status quo of Taiwan. That is our strongest message in that direction," he added.
Van Weel said that the international rules-based order is being undermined. "There are authoritarian regimes that are coming together, that are abiding by the rules that 'might makes right,' instead of justice based on rules and norms," he said, noting that the issue has become an international challenge for democracies to address together.
"It's very important for like-minded nations, for democracies, to stand up for what we believe in -- for our free, rules-based world order," he said. "It's at the core of our deepening cooperation between NATO and the Indo-Pacific partners."
Though van Weel distanced NATO from strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, he believed the organization could partner with Asian nations to counter cybersecurity and disinformation, which also affects Europe. In June, there were talks of possibly opening a NATO liaison office in Tokyo, but when asked to comment on the plan, van Weel said, "It is still on the table. We'll have to see."