From 9 to 12 April 2022 the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, visited the Republic of Korea to discuss the partnership between the Republic of Korea and NATO and how both parties can foster closer military cooperation.
Admiral Bauer travelled to the Republic of Korea at the invitation of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Won In-choul. At the start of the country visit, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Bauer, visited the Seoul National Cemetery and the Dora observatory located at the northernmost point of the Military Demarcation Line in the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
In his meetings with the Minister of Defence, Mr. Suh Wook and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Won In-choul, Admiral Bauer discussed the value of working with like-minded, democratic partners and how the interoperability between NATO and the Armed Forces of the Republic of South Korea can be increased. The conversations focused specifically on current and emerging security challenges, including weapons of mass destruction and cyber defence; as well as the promotion of information sharing. In the upcoming months, both chairs will have their staffs work toward tangible and actionable cooperation.
On the partnership between the Republic of Korea and NATO, the Chair stated that the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces of NATO Allies are rooted in the same devotion as the people in the Armed Forces of South Korea:
“We are all working to serve a greater good: the protection of freedom and democracy. That task… that life goal… forms an invisible bond that transcends wars, generations and even continents.”
During his visit, the Chair also engaged in a meeting with US General LaCamera, who is the Commander of the United Nations Command + ROK/US Combined Forces Command + United States Forces Korea. The Admiral reiterated in his engagements that NATO fully supports the goal of a complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula:
“NATO is committed to a rules based international order. We are keen to work with democratic partners, to make sure the force of law prevails over the law of force” Admiral Bauer said.
On Tuesday 12 April 2022, Admiral Bauer held a keynote lecture at the National Defence University. He stressed the mutual benefits of the political and military partnership between NATO and the Republic of Korea and highlighted the country’s technological leading role:
“Friendship is a powerful concept, for countries as well as for individual people. It allows you to survive and to thrive. The friendship between NATO and the Republic of Korea is now 17 years old. And it has been mutually beneficial, both on the political and on the military level. I look forward to seeing where our friendship can take us in the future. I have every faith that together we have what it takes to make sure that freedom wins over oppression”.