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NKorea Slams US-SKorea-Japan Alliance  07/03 08:46

   North Korea on Sunday slammed the United States, South Korea and Japan for 
pushing to boost their trilateral military cooperation targeting the North, 
warning that the move is prompting urgent calls for the country to reinforce 
its military capability.

   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea on Sunday slammed the United States, 
South Korea and Japan for pushing to boost their trilateral military 
cooperation targeting the North, warning that the move is prompting urgent 
calls for the country to reinforce its military capability.

   North Korea has long cited what it calls hostility by the United States and 
its allies as a reason to pursue 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 run of weapons tests this year.

   "The prevailing situation more urgently calls for building up the country's 
defense to actively cope with the rapid aggravation of the security environment 
of the Korean Peninsula and the rest of the world," the North Korean Foreign 
Ministry said in a statement, without elaborating how it would boost its 
military capacity.

   The statement took issue with a trilateral meeting among the U.S., South 
Korean and Japanese leaders on the sidelines of a NATO summit last week, during 
which they underscored the need to strengthen their cooperation to deal with 
North Korean nuclear threats.

   "The chief executives of the U.S., Japan and South Korea put their heads 
together for confrontation with (North Korea) and discussed the dangerous joint 
military countermeasures against it including the launch of tripartite joint 
military exercises," the statement said.

   North Korea views U.S.-led military exercises in the region, particularly 
ones with rival South Korea, as an invasion rehearsal, though Washington and 
Seoul have repeatedly said they have no intentions of attacking the North.

   During the recent trilateral meeting, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was 
"deeply concerned" about North Korea's continued ballistic missile tests and 
apparent plans to conduct a nuclear test. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol 
said the importance of trilateral cooperation has grown in the face of North 
Korea's advanced nuclear program, while Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida 
said joint anti-missile drills would be important to deter North Korean threats.

   Earlier in June, the defense chiefs of the U.S., South Korea and Japan 
agreed to resume their combined missile warning and tracking exercises as part 
of their efforts to deal with North Korea's escalating weapons tests.

   The North Korean statement accused the United States of exaggerating rumors 
about North Korean threats "to provide an excuse for attaining military 
supremacy over the Asia-Pacific region including the Korean Peninsula."

   U.S. officials have said Washington has no hostile intent toward Pyongyang 
and urged it to return to disarmament talks without any preconditions. North 
Korea has rejected the U.S. overture, saying it would focus on buttressing its 
nuclear deterrent unless the United States drops its hostile policies toward 
the North, an apparent reference to U.S.-led economic sanctions and its regular 
military training with South Korea.

   North Korea claimed the recent NATO summit proves an alleged U.S. plan to 
contain Russia and China by achieving the "militarization of Europe" and 
forming a NATO-like alliance in Asia. It said "the reckless military moves of 
the U.S. and its vassal forces" could lead to dangerous consequences like a 
nuclear war simultaneously taking place in both Europe and Asia-Pacific.

   Pyongyang has often released similar warlike rhetoric and warned of the 
danger of nuclear war in times of heightened animosities with Washington and 
Seoul.

 
 
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