North Korea Accuses US, Japan, and South Korea of Creating ‘Asian NATO’

North Korea claims that a joint defense pledge by the US, Japan and South Korea poses a threat to regional stability.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry has accused the US, Japan, and South Korea of forming a military alliance in Asia that mirrors NATO, citing the three countries’ actions as a threat to regional stability.

In a statement released on Sunday by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang “strongly denounced” what it called “reckless and provocative military muscle-flexing” by Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul, specifically referring to the Freedom Edge military drills.

The exercise, which took place from June 27 to 29, was intended to “promote trilateral interoperability and protect freedom for peace and stability,” according to the US Navy.  It involved several warships, including the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry alleges that the US’s true objective is “world domination” and the encirclement of independent states. This policy, the statement asserts, “has already crossed the red-line and is bringing about a very negative change in the world security environment.”

Pyongyang maintains that the Freedom Edge drill was an attempt to solidify a military bloc comprising the US, Japan, and South Korea, which has pledged to “cope with any threat faced by one of the three.” North Korean officials argue that this provision resembles NATO’s collective defense clause, meaning that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all members.

”This means that the US-Japan-ROK [South Korea] relations have taken on the full-fledged appearance of Asian version [of] NATO,” the ministry emphasized.

North Korea has consistently protested against US exercises near the Korean peninsula, viewing them as rehearsals for a potential invasion. Pyongyang has also conducted numerous artillery and missile tests in the region.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has declared that the US-led military bloc has no plans to expand into Asia, but has stressed the need for the bloc to respond to the evolving security landscape in the region, as the situation could have serious consequences far beyond. In 2021, the US, UK, and Australia formed a security partnership known as AUKUS, where Washington and London committed to assisting Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.