North Korea’s foreign ministry on Monday said a new US alliance in the Indo-Pacific and Washington’s recent submarine contract with Australia could trigger a “nuclear arms race” in the region.
Last week the US announced a new three-way security pact with Australia and Britain, as part of a strategic partnership under which American nuclear submarines will be supplied to Canberra.
“These are extremely undesirable and dangerous acts which will upset the strategic balance in the Asia-Pacific region and trigger off a chain of nuclear arms race,” North Korean state media KCNA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.
“This shows that the US is the chief culprit toppling the international nuclear non-proliferation system,” they added.
France, which chose a full-fledged confrontation with the US due to the loss of a mega-contract for submarines for Australia, is making a risky bet and other nations are not rushing to its defense.
France has taken the extraordinary step of pulling its ambassadors from both Washington and Canberra for consultations.
Bertrand Badie, an international relations professor at the Sciences Po institute in Paris, said France had put itself in a position where it can only appear to be backing down or losing face once its ambassador returns to the US, its historical ally.
“When you get into a crisis like this, you better know where the exit is,” Badie said.
Australia said it decided that nuclear submarines were a better choice to ensure its maritime edge as it announced a new three-way alliance with the US and Britain widely seen as aimed at China – whose rise has been the overriding priority of US President Joe Biden’s administration.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has stayed subdued publicly, is set to speak to Biden in the coming days.
But Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has used language rarely used among friendly nations, alleging “lying” and “duplicity” and saying France was “stabbed in the back” by Australia.
A North Korea official said it “will certainly take a corresponding counteraction in case it [new alliance] has even a little adverse impact on the security of our country.”
“The US double-dealing attitude is getting all the more pronounced after the emergence of the new administration... seriously threatens world peace and stability,” the official said.