North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that a new US alliance in the Indo-Pacific and a recent US submarine contract with Australia could spark a “nuclear arms race” in the region.
Last week, the United States announced a new three-way security pact with Australia and Britain, as part of a strategic partnership under which American nuclear submarines will be supplied to Canberra.
“These are extremely undesirable and dangerous acts that will upset the strategic balance in the Asia-Pacific region and unleash a chain of nuclear arms race,” a foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by North Korean state media KCNA.
“This shows that the United States is the main culprit in bringing down the international nuclear non-proliferation system,” said a head of the foreign news section in the Ministry’s Press and Information Department.
On Wednesday, nuclear-armed North Korea fired two missiles into the sea, and Seoul successfully conducted a test-fire of a ballistic missile launched from a submarine hours later, becoming the world’s seventh country with the technology.
The series of missile tests and extraordinary defense deals in the Pacific have highlighted a regional arms race that is intensifying as the rivalry between China and the United States grows.
“It is quite natural that neighboring countries, including China, would condemn these actions as irresponsible in destroying peace and stability in the region,” the North Korean official said.
US President Joe Biden’s new Australia-US-Britain defense alliance is widely seen as aimed at countering the rise of China.
His administration’s relationship with North Korea has marked a change of tone from his predecessor Donald Trump, who struck up an extraordinary diplomatic bromance with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“The double-dealing attitude of the United States, which becomes even more pronounced after the emergence of the new administration, erodes the universally accepted international norm and order and seriously threatens world peace and stability,” the North Korean ministry official said. .
The official added that North Korea “will certainly take the corresponding counterattack in case it has a small adverse impact on the security of our country.”