North Korea accuses US and allies of trying to create ‘Asian Nato’

·2 min read
North Korea is unhappy at growing ties between the US, Japan and South Korea - KCNA via KNS/AFP via Getty Images/AFP
North Korea is unhappy at growing ties between the US, Japan and South Korea - KCNA via KNS/AFP via Getty Images/AFP

North Korea has accused the United States, Japan and South Korea of harbouring a “sinister aim” towards Pyongyang while making moves to create an “Asian version of Nato.”

The charge was made by state news agency KCNA on Wednesday, hours before Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister, and Yoon Suk-yeol, the South Korean president, were due to meet Joe Biden, the US president, as they attended Nato’s annual summit as observers for the first time.

The meeting with Mr Biden will be their first trilateral summit since 2017.

The three countries will also conduct a combined missile detection and tracking exercise near Hawaii in early August, called Pacific Dragon, as they step up security cooperation in response to North Korea’s recent spate of ballistic missile launches and concerns that it could conduct an imminent nuclear test.

President Biden plans to meet the leaders of Japan and South Korea at the Nato Summit - Gabriel Bouys/AFP
President Biden plans to meet the leaders of Japan and South Korea at the Nato Summit - Gabriel Bouys/AFP

"The US is getting hell-bent on the military cooperation with its stooges in disregard of the primary security demand and concern by Asia-pacific countries," KCNA said.

"The scheme for formation of the US-Japan-South Korea military alliance, motivated by Japan's and South Korea's kowtowing to the U.S., is evidently a dangerous prelude to the creation of 'Asian version of Nato'," the news agency said, accusing Washington of fomenting a new Cold War.

KCNA carried a separate commentary by Kim Hyo-myung, a researcher at North Korea's International Society for Political Research, who said Nato was responsible for the war in Ukraine, and that there are "ominous signs” that “the black waves in the North Atlantic will break the calm in the Pacific."

Pyongyang has carried out a record 31 missile tests so far this year, including a suspected hypersonic weapon and its largest intercontinental ballistic missile.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol at the Nato Summit with his wife - Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/AP
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol at the Nato Summit with his wife - Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/AP

Ahead of President Yoon’s trip, a senior official said he would stress an urgent response to the North Korean nuclear issue and that “North Korea's provocations should be handled strongly” between the three nations to urge Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.

The US has also called for Seoul and Tokyo to work more closely to counter the threat from North Korea and also the rising influence of China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Both are US allies but have a difficult bilateral relationship because of historical tensions and ongoing legal disputes over Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1910-1945.

Jake Sullivan, the US national security advisor, said the leaders’ first meeting would focus on North Korea’s missiles and nuclear programme and what could be done economically to deprive Pyongyang of the hard currency it needed to fund it.