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North Korea blames South Korea, US and Japan ties as Asian version of Nato

SEOUL - North Korea criticised the trilateral "Freedom Edge" military exercise by South Korea, Japan and the United States held this month, state media said on June 30, saying such drills show the relationship among three countries has developed into "the Asian version of Nato".

On June 27, the three countries began large-scale joint military drills involving navy destroyers, fighter jets and the nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, aimed at boosting defences against missiles, submarines and air attacks.

The "Freedom Edge" exercise was devised at the three-way summit at Camp David last year to strengthen military co-operation amid tensions on the Korean peninsula stemming from North Korea's weapons testing.

Pyongyang will not ignore the strengthening of a military bloc led by the US and its allies and will protect regional peace with an aggressive and overwhelming response, North Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement, according to KCNA news agency.

The ministry also said Washington was continuing its effort to link up South Korea and Japan to Nato, adding South Korea's attempts to supply weapons to Ukraine is one example of that effort.

South Korea said it would review the possibility of supplying arms directly to Ukraine, in protest against a recent mutual defence pact signed between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

South Korea and the United States have accused the North of supplying weapons to Russia that are being used in the Ukraine war. Both Russia and North Korea deny any such transactions.


On June 29, North Korea's ruling party held a key meeting on the second day, presided by Kim, who addressed "deviations" hampering economic