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  20 Sep 2021, 12:33

N.Korea says US submarine deal, alliance could trigger 'nuclear arms race'

  SEOUL, Sept 20, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - 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.

   Nuclear-armed North Korea fired two missiles into the sea last Wednesday,
with Seoul successfully test-firing a submarine-launched ballistic missile
(SLBM) hours later, becoming only the seventh country in the world with the
technology.

   South Korea's test is a strategic advance for Seoul. It has been
strengthening its military capabilities to counter the threat posed by the
North, which is under international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and
ballistic missile programs.

   But in a separate statement carried by KCNA on Monday, the chief of North
Korea's defence science agency called Seoul's newly developed SLBM a "clumsy
piece of work" lacking key technology.

   "The homegrown SLBM unveiled by South Korea will not be able to serve as
an effective means of attack at war," he said.

   The spate of missile tests and bumper defence deals in the Pacific have
highlighted a regional arms race that is intensifying as a China-US rivalry
grows.

   "It is quite natural that neighboring countries including China condemned
these actions as irresponsible ones of destroying the peace and stability of
the region," the North Korean foreign ministry official said.

   US President Joe Biden's new Australia-US-Britain defence alliance is
widely seen as aimed at countering the rise of China.

   His administration's relationship with North Korea has marked a change in
tone from his predecessor Donald Trump, who engaged in an extraordinary
diplomatic bromance with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

   "The US double-dealing attitude getting all the more pronounced after the
emergence of the new administration... seriously threatens the world peace
and stability," the North Korean ministry official said.

   The official added that North Korea "will certainly take a corresponding
counteraction in case it has even a little adverse impact on the security of
our country".

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