NATO not to pivot to Asia Pacific: US expert

Updated: 2012-05-16 02:02


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There is no indication that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will pivot its focus to the Asia Pacific region, even as it is increasingly engaged with partner nations from that region on the eve of a summit in Chicago, the United States.

Stephen Flanagan, a defense and security expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, on Tuesday told a Washington briefing that NATO's strategic concept says that the bloc recognizes global environment has become "more complicated" with more threats to alliance security emanating from various corners, but there's not an expectation that NATO will "pivot" to Asia or there will be new engagement in the Far East.

"There is no support among European allies for having NATO go global in the fullest sense of the word, but a recognition that in order to protect the alliance's territory it may have to act outside the North Atlantic region in some cases," said Flanagan, in a reference to NATO's mission in Afghanistan and Libya.

Flanagan noted some countries in the Asia Pacific region have been major contributors to the alliance's Afghanistan mission, and there are areas of cooperation with Asia Pacific nations NATO is undertaking, such as counter piracy and maritime security missions.

"Some key countries in East Asia who share values and have many common interest have proved themselves quite valuable," said Flanagan.
Heads of state and governments from NATO's 28 member countries are to convene in Chicago this weekend for the security bloc's 25th summit, with the issue of Afghanistan and where NATO's futures dominating the agenda.