North Korea accuses US and regional allies of moves towards “Asian NATO” – Al Jazeera English

The state’s new official Central News Agency accused the United States, Japan and South Korea of ​​harboring an “evil target” toward Pyongyang.

The official North Korean news agency said the joint exercises conducted by the United States, South Korea and Japan have an “evil aim” towards North Korea and are part of a dangerous prelude to creating an “Asian version of NATO”.

The reports from the Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday came hours before the leaders of South Korea and Japan attended the annual NATO summit in Madrid as observers for the first time.

Officials from Seoul and Tokyo will meet US President Joe Biden at the summit to discuss the North Korea issue, the first trilateral summit of its kind since 2017. The three countries will also conduct joint missile detection and tracking exercises near Hawaii in August called Pacific Dragon.

“The United States is moving towards military cooperation with its clients, ignoring the basic security demand and the concerns of the Asia-Pacific countries,” the Korean Central News Agency said.

The agency said, “It is clear that the scheme of forming the military alliance between the United States, Japan and South Korea, motivated by Japan and South Korea’s submission to the United States, is a dangerous precursor to the creation of an ‘Asian version of NATO.'” fueling a new cold war.

The KCNA carried a separate commentary by Kim Hyo-myung, a researcher at the International Society for Political Research in North Korea, who said that NATO is responsible for the war in Ukraine and that there are “ominous indications that the black waves in the North Atlantic sooner or later will break the calm in the Pacific “.

Kim wrote, “NATO is nothing more than a servant to the realization of the strategy of American hegemony and an instrument of domestic aggression.”

In a similar statement issued over the weekend, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said the joint military exercises with South Korea and Japan demonstrated the hypocrisy of US offers of diplomatic engagement and dialogue without conditions.

North Korea has conducted a record number of missile tests this year, including its largest ICBM, and there are fears that it may be preparing to test a nuclear weapon for the first time since 2017.

South Korea and Japan are allies of the United States, but their relationship with each other has been strained by historical tensions due to Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

Washington has pushed Seoul and Tokyo to cooperate more in the face of threats from North Korea, as well as to counter the growing influence of China.

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