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.
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.