In this photo taken on June 25, 2022, people attend a mass rally to mark the "day of struggle against US imperialism", on the 72nd anniversary of the three-year Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950, at the plaza of the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang. (KIM WONG JIN / AFP)
SEOUL - The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has accused the United States of setting up a military alliance like NATO in Asia, saying the unwavering US aim to oust the DPRK government compelled it to develop stronger defenses.
The DPRK criticism comes amid concern it could be preparing its first nuclear test in five years and after a recent agreement between Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol and US President Joe Biden to deploy more US weapons if deemed necessary to deter Pyongyang.
The DPRK criticism came a day before ROK's president left to attend a NATO summit in Spain, the first ROK leader to do so
"While blatantly holding joint military exercises with Japan and South Korea, the United States is making a full-fledged move to establish an Asia-style NATO," DPRK's foreign ministry said in a statement on its website on Sunday. The ROK is also referred to as South Korea.
US, ROK and Japanese forces recently conducted military exercises. The United States also held exercises with ROK forces that involved a US aircraft carrier, for the first time in more than four years.
"This proves the hypocrisy of the US rhetoric of 'diplomatic engagement' and 'dialogue without preconditions', while at the same time revealing again that there is no change in the US ambition to overthrow our system by force," the DPRK ministry said.
"The reality ... makes us feel the need to make all-out efforts to develop even stronger power to be able to subdue all kinds of hostile acts by the United States," it said.
The DPRK criticism came a day before ROK's president left to attend a NATO summit in Spain, the first ROK leader to do so.
ROK, aiming to strengthen its partnership with NATO and play a bigger global security role, plans to set up a delegation to NATO at its Brussels headquarters, ROK's national security adviser said last week.
Meanwhile, the ROK minister in charge of inter-Korean affairs said Monday that the country was still committed to dialogue with the DPRK.
"We remain firmly committed to addressing all inter-Korean issues through dialogue," Unification Minister Kwon Young-se told a press conference with foreign correspondents in Seoul.
"In that sense, our government will engage in consistent efforts to achieve change in the inter-Korean relations, which are in a stalemate, through the embracing of the path of dialogue," said Kwon.
President Yoon, who was inaugurated on May 10, said at his inaugural ceremony that if the DPRK stops nuclear development and genuinely embarks on denuclearization, his government will be prepared to work with the international community to present an "audacious plan" that can improve the DPRK's economy.
The minister said ROK wished to realize peaceful unification on the Korean Peninsula through the peninsula's denuclearization and the normalized relations between the two Koreas.
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