North Korea has criticized a new security pact between the United States, Australia and Britain, warning that it could lead to a “nuclear arms race”.
A State Department official said the Okus agreement would “disrupt the balance in the Asia-Atlantic region”.
Under the deal, Australia will receive technology to build nuclear-powered submarines from the United States and Britain.
Many view the agreement as an attempt to counter China’s influence in the South China Sea.
The Okos agreement was announced last week, which will include, in addition to submarines, cruise missiles, artificial intelligence and other technologies.
The North Korean official described the agreement as: “a completely undesirable and dangerous step that would upset the balance in the Asia-Atlantic region and ignite a nuclear arms race.”
Last week, North Korea conducted two major tests with cruise missiles and long-range ballistic missiles.
China also criticized the agreement, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying the alliance “risked destabilizing and destabilizing peace in the region and promoting the nuclear arms race.”
Pyongyang said that it is normal for neighboring countries such as China to condemn this move, describing it as irresponsible, threatening to undermine peace and stability in the region.
Under this agreement, the United States will share its technology for the manufacture of submarines with other countries, for the first time in 60 years, after it was involved in it, only Britain.
This means that Australia will be able to build nuclear-powered submarines that are faster and more undetectable than conventional submarines. It can stay under water for months, and it can launch long-range missiles. But Australia says it has no plans to equip it with nuclear warheads.
The announcement of the agreement did not mention China, but the leaders of the three countries have repeatedly warned of their concern about the “increasing” security challenges in the region.
North Korea also referred to previous French statements calling the agreement a “stab in the back”, saying the move had led to a “major crisis” between allies.
France criticized the deal because it lost a $37 billion deal it concluded in 2016 with Australia to supply conventional submarines. She said she learned of the agreement just hours before it was announced.
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