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North Korea has accused the United States of attempting to “create an Asia-style NATO” amid the conflict in Ukraine.

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North Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement claiming that “the United States is making a full-fledged attempt to build an Asia-style NATO while shamelessly staging joint military drills with Japan and South Korea.”

A recent naval drill between the US and South Korea finished earlier this month. Off the coast of the Japanese island of Okinawa, the three-day exercise took place.

Notably, US aircraft carriers also participated in the naval drill, which, according to the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, was intended to improve interoperability between the two navies in light of the tensions between South Korea and North Korea.

The news comes amid speculation that North Korea may be getting ready to test nuclear weapons. This year, North Korea has tested a number of ballistic missiles, including an ICBM launch.

If North Korea conducts a nuclear test, the United States and South Korea have threatened a quick response. According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the US is taking a “diplomatic strategy” while maintaining “no hostile intent” towards Kim Jong-government. 

“This demonstrates the duplicity of the US language of ‘diplomatic engagement’ and ‘conversation without preconditions,’ while also exposing once more that there is no change in the US intention to overturn our government by force,” North Korea said.

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