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North Korea warns of ‘nuclear arms race’ after US subs deal

Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Rankin during a biennial maritime exercise between the Royal Australian Navy and the Indian Navy. (POIS Yuri Ramsey/Australian Defence Force/Getty Images/TNS)
September 20, 2021

North Korea warned of a “nuclear arms race” after the U.S. and U.K. agreed to give Australia technology to build nuclear-powered submarines, and vowed to take counteraction for any adverse impact on its own security.

“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,” the official Korean Central News Agency said Monday, citing a North Korean Foreign Ministry official.

North Korea’s remarks echoed those last week from China, which decried the move by the U.S. and U.K. to help Australia build nuclear submarines as stoking an “arms race.”

The Biden administration has been struggling to assuage French anger over Australia’s surprise decision to abandon a multibillion-dollar submarine contract with France in favor of U.S. technology.

The White House’s argument that the deal will improve security in the Indo-Pacific region “amounts to a stand that any country can spread nuclear technology if it is in its interests,” the unnamed foreign ministry official said, according to KCNA. The official accused the U.S. of “toppling the international nuclear non-proliferation system.”

North Korea withdrew from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 2003, and has since assembled an arsenal of nuclear weapons and developed the missiles to fire them.

“The prevailing situation shows once again that bolstering the capabilities for national defense from a long-term perspective should not be slackened even a bit,” the KCNA report said. It added that North Korea will take “a corresponding counteraction in case it has even a little adverse impact on the security of our country.”


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