06:14 GMT +319 December 2018
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    A 160-man combat team from Skaraborg Armoured Regiment deploy in Visby harbour in Sweden on September 14, 2016

    Swedish Defense Minister Backs Military Build-Up Without NATO Membership

    © AFP 2018 / SOREN ANDERSSON / TT NEWS AGENCY
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    The Swedish defense minister said on Monday that the countries that choose to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) contribute to growing military tensions worldwide, adding that they should opt for developing multilateral cooperation.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – Sweden’s Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said Monday that he supports efforts of individual states to build up their militaries and boost cooperation, but also believes that, with regard to Sweden, membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was not necessary.

    "At this moment the best strategy is separate development of each country’s military capabilities, deepening of bilateral and multilateral cooperation… In case of applying for NATO [membership], the regional tensions will increase," Hultqvist told Japanese Asahi newspaper.

    Hultqvist stressed that there was no need for "experiments" to ensure safety.

    Sweden is known to be a neutral country, sticking to the principle of non-alignment with NATO. Meanwhile, Japan has also started boosting its military capabilities amid the looming North Korean threat, an issue which is becoming more pressing with each missile test reported over recent months. In July alone, North Korea tested intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) twice.

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    ICBMs, NATO, Peter Hultqvist, Sweden
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