North Korea on Monday joined the international feud over the trilateral agreement between the U.S., U.K. and Australia to share nuclear submarine technology, warning that the move would trigger a nuclear arms race.
“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,” a North Korean Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying on state media, according to The Washington Post.
“It is quite natural that neighboring countries including China condemned these actions as irresponsible ones of destroying the peace and stability of the region and the international nuclear nonproliferation system and of catalyzing the arms race,” said the official.
Almost immediately after the deal was announced last week, China said the three western countries should "shake off their Cold-War mentality and ideological prejudice."
North Korea's condemnation comes less than a week after it launched multiple test missiles, heightening tensions on the Korean peninsula. The same day that North Korea launched its test missiles, South Korea also tested missiles from a submerged 3,700-ton submarine.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in condemned the North Korea's missile tests as a provocation while Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the missile tests were a “threat to the peace and security” in the region.
The agreement between the three countries will give Australia at least eight nuclear submarines and abandons a prior $40 billion agreement Canberra signed with France for diesel-electric submarines.
France has protested the agreement, withdrawing its ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia and condemning the deal as a "huge mistake." French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronFrench ambassador to Australia blasts sub deal with US: 'Way you treat your allies does resonate' America's subplot and Europe caught in the undertow UN agency to pay salaries of Afghan health care workers MORE is expected to speak with Biden in the next few days to discuss the nuclear submarine deal, with a French government spokesperson saying Macron would be seeking "clarification" on the matter.
Australia has so far remained steadfast in its decision, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying on Sunday, "I don't regret the decision to put Australia's national interest first."