North Korea has accused the U.S. of creating an “Asia-style NATO” in an attempt to overthrow dictator Kim Jong Un late Sunday.
The North Korean government cited military cooperation between the U.S. and allies in Japan and South Korea. The regime’s complaints echo China’s condemnation of the newly revitalized Quad alliance, which includes the U.S., Japan, India and Australia.
“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,” North Korea’s foreign ministry wrote in a statement.
“This proves the hypocrisy of the U.S. rhetoric of ‘diplomatic engagement’ and ‘dialogue without preconditions,’ while at the same time revealing again that there is no change in the U.S. ambition to overthrow our system by force,” the statement continued.
President Joe Biden’s administration has ramped up military cooperation with Asian allies as China has grown increasingly aggressive toward Taiwan and North Korea nears a potential nuclear test.
China condemned the Quad alliance as an attempt to form an “Asian NATO” earlier this year.
Unlike NATO, however, Quad members only agree to cooperate economically and do not sign a mutual defense pact.
Biden’s administration was adamant that the organization was “not the new NATO” when first announcing the partnership last year.
“The Quad is not a military alliance; it’s not a new NATO, despite some of the propaganda that’s out there,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said at the time. “What it is, is an opportunity for these four democracies to work as a group, and also with other countries, on fundamental issues of economics, technology, climate, and security.”
Nevertheless, the U.S. has strengthened its military cooperation with South Korea and Japan in recent months. The U.S. included an aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, in its military drills with South Korea for the first time in four years earlier in June.
The 100,000-ton nuclear-powered vessel is one of the U.S. Navy’s eleven aircraft carriers.