February 3, 2023

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North Korea slams Japan’s military buildup, promises ‘action’

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North Korea’s foreign ministry calls Japan’s new $320bn security strategy ‘wrong and dangerous’, promises a response.

North Korea has condemned Japan’s planned military build-up and pledged action against what it described as Tokyo’s “wrong and dangerous choice” to bolster its defence sector.

The statement on Tuesday from North Korea’s foreign ministry comes just days after Japan unveiled a new $320bn security strategy that outlined plans for Japan’s military to mount “counter-strike capabilities”, and to respond to the threats posed by China, Russia and North Korea.

Japan’s sweeping, five-year military strategy will see the country become the world’s third-largest military spender after the United States and China.

Japan’s new security strategy effectively formalises a “new aggression policy” and fundamentally changes East Asia’s security environment, a spokesperson for Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said in a report published by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

In response to Japan’s move to “realise unjust and excessive ambition”, North Korea “will continue to show how concerned and displeased we are with practical action,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson blasted the US for “exalting and instigating Japan’s rearmament and re-invasion plan,” adding that Washington had no right to raise issue with Pyongyang’s efforts to bolster its own defences.

North Korea’s efforts to upgrade military capabilities have included a record number of ballistic missile launches this year, including missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads and with varying ranges that could reach the US mainland and allies South Korea and Japan.

North Korea claimed advances on Monday in its efforts to acquire a spy satellite, saying that it had launched a test satellite and releasing low-resolution, black-and-white photos that showed a view from space of the South Korean capital, Seoul, and the nearby city of Incheon.

Some analysts in South Korea said the images were too crude to be satellite photos, according to the South Korean Yonhap news agency.

North Korea hit back at that criticism on Tuesday, with Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying it was “inappropriate and hasty” to assess her country’s satellite capabilities from those two photos alone.

Pyongyang’s efforts to develop a spy satellite were a “pressing priority directly linked to our security,” she said, adding that additional sanctions on her country would not stop such technological developments.

South Korea will seek international support and “try hard to impose additional sanctions on us”, she added.

“But, with our right to survival and development being threatened, why are we afraid of sanctions … and why would we stop?”

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