SEOUL (Dispatches) - North Korea criticized the United States, South Korea and Japan’s recent agreement on strengthening military cooperation to be a means to materialize a U.S. plan for a military alliance like NATO in the region.
North Korea’s foreign ministry spokesperson said as much to a question put by KCNA, the state news agency reported on Sunday.
“The reality clearly shows that the real purpose of the U.S. spreading the rumor about ‘threat from North Korea’ is to provide an excuse for attaining military supremacy over the Asia-Pacific region,” said the spokesperson.
“The prevailing situation more urgently calls for building up the country’s defenses to actively cope with the rapid aggravation of the security environment,” the spokesperson added.
The leaders of the United States, South Korea and Japan met on the sidelines of a NATO summit last week and agreed to explore further means to reinforce “extended deterrence” against North Korea.
The gathering in Madrid took place as the recent change of the South Korean government created fresh impetus toward improving soured bilateral ties between Tokyo and Seoul. It also comes amid speculation that Pyongyang’s first nuclear test since 2017 could occur at any time.
Tensions are simmering on the Korean Peninsula following joint naval exercises off Okinawa, with the participation of a U.S. aircraft carrier and South Korean destroyers. The U.S. and Japan conducted a separate drill, flying warplanes above waters in the Korean Peninsula.
Earlier this month, China and Russia said the United States is fueling tensions after they vetoed a U.S.-led push for tougher sanctions on North Korea at the United Nations.