North Korea denounces military cooperation between the United States, South Korea and Japan
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Sunday slammed the United States, South Korea and Japan for pushing to boost trilateral military cooperation targeting the North, warning the move is prompting urgent calls for the country strengthen its military capacity.
North Korea has long cited what it calls hostility from the United States and its allies as a reason for pursuing a nuclear program. Sunday’s statement comes as North Korea’s neighbors say the country is ready for its first nuclear test in five years as part of its provocative round of weapons tests this year.
“The prevailing situation calls for more urgently to strengthen the country’s defense to actively deal with the rapidly worsening security environment on the Korean Peninsula and the rest of the world,” said the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. in a statement, without specifying how it would strengthen its military capacity.
The statement challenged a trilateral meeting between US, South Korean and Japanese leaders on the sidelines of a NATO summit last week, during which they stressed the need to strengthen their cooperation to deal with nuclear threats North Koreans.
“The Chief Executives of the United States, Japan and South Korea have concerted for a confrontation with (North Korea) and discussed dangerous joint military countermeasures against it, including the launch of joint tripartite military exercises,” the statement said.
North Korea views U.S.-led military exercises in the region, especially those with rival South Korea, as a rehearsal for an invasion, although Washington and Seoul have repeatedly said they will not had no intention of attacking the North.
At the recent trilateral meeting, US President Joe Biden said he was “deeply concerned” about North Korea’s continued ballistic missile testing and its apparent plan to conduct a nuclear test. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said the importance of trilateral cooperation had grown in the face of North Korea’s advanced nuclear program, while Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said joint missile drills would be important to deter North Korean threats.
Earlier in June, the defense chiefs of the United States, South Korea and Japan agreed to resume their combined missile warning and tracking exercises as part of their efforts to deal with the escalation of North Korea’s weapons tests.
The North Korean statement accused the United States of exaggerating rumors of North Korean threats “to provide an excuse to achieve military supremacy over the Asia-Pacific region, including the Korean peninsula.”
US officials said Washington had no hostile intentions towards Pyongyang and urged it to resume disarmament talks without any preconditions. North Korea has rejected the US overture, saying it will focus on strengthening its nuclear deterrent unless the US abandons its hostile policies toward the North, an apparent reference to US-led economic sanctions. United States and his regular military training with South Korea.
North Korea claimed the recent NATO summit proved an alleged US plan to contain Russia and China by carrying out the “militarization of Europe” and forming a NATO-like alliance in Asia. He said “reckless military moves by the United States and its vassal forces” could have dangerous consequences like nuclear war unfolding simultaneously in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Pyongyang has often issued similar warlike rhetoric and warned of the danger of nuclear war at a time of heightened animosity with Washington and Seoul.