World on the brink as North Korea issues horror warning over ‘Asian NATO’

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul1,2024

North Korea has issued a warning that the United States, Japan and South Korea are trying to establish a “NATO of Asian version” following joint military drills.

North Korean media said nothing was stopping the three countries from forming “an aggressive bloc” as they strengthened their relations with each other.

State-run Korean Central News Agency reported: “The US is now claiming that the US-Japan-ROK relations are just cooperative ones for strengthening regional stability and security and do not mean NATO of Asian version, but it is nothing but rhetoric to evade international criticism of the formation of an aggressive bloc.”

This comes after the trilateral Freedom Edge military trials in the East China Sea, which the North Korean Foreign Ministry condemned.

The ministry called the drills an attempt to “escalate regional military tensions, exert pressure upon the Far East of Russia and lay siege to China”.

It said the defence cooperation between the three countries is “reminiscent of NATO’s principle of collective defence that it mobilises its defence capabilities if a member country is attacked, regarding it as an attack on all.”

The statement added: “As NATO stages annual joint military drills in all spheres including land, sea, air and cyberspace, the US, Japan and the ROK (South Korea) decided to regularly stage tripartite multi-domain joint military drills. This means that the US-Japan-ROK relations have taken on the full-fledged appearance of Asian-version NATO.”

It said it would not “overlook the moves of the US and its followers to strengthen the military bloc, which openly destroys the security environment on the Korean peninsula and gravely threatens global peace and stability, but firmly defend the sovereignty, security and interests of the state and peace in the region through offensive and overwhelming countermeasures”.

The three-day Freedom Edge increased the sophistication of previous exercises with simultaneous air and naval drills geared toward improving joint ballistic-missile defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance and other skills and capabilities.

The exercise, which is expected to expand in years to come, was also intended to improve the countries’ abilities to share missile warnings – increasingly important as North Korea tests ever-more sophisticated systems.

Outside of Australia, Japan and South Korea are the only US partners in the region with militaries sophisticated enough to integrate operations with the US so that if, for example, South Korea were to detect a target, it could quickly relay details so Japanese or American counterparts could respond.

Ridzwan Rahmat, a Singapore-based analyst with the defence intelligence company Janes, said: “That’s the kind of interoperability that is involved in a typical war scenario.

“For trilateral exercises like this, the intention is to develop the interoperability between the three armed forces so that they can fight better as a cohesive fighting force.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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