North Korea Condemns U.S., Japan, South Korea ‘Military’ Alliance

North Korea denounced the U.S., South Korea and Japan for “reckless moves” to create a military alliance that threatens peace in North Asia.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is getting tenser as the days go by and the danger of a war is increasing hour by hour,” the state-run Korea Central News Agency reported, citing a commentary in the Rodong newspaper yesterday. ‘The U.S. is giving spurs to an arms buildup and preparations for a war.”

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased since North Korea’s Nov. 23 shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island that killed two soldiers and two civilians. South Korea’s new defense minister Kim Kwan Jin two days ago vowed retaliation that would include airstrikes if North Korea made another attack.

The U.S. sent the USS George Washington to join South Korean naval forces in an exercise in the Yellow Sea at the end of November and the aircraft carrier is now taking part in drills with Japan involving about 400 aircraft and 60 warships. More than 40,000 Japanese and U.S. military personnel began a weeklong exercise on Dec. 3.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host Japan’s Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and South Korean counterpart Kim Sung Hwan tomorrow to discuss regional security.

“Just as the U.S. has NATO in Europe, it is in the process of establishing a war structure of an ‘anti-Communist crusade’ called the U.S.-Japan-South Korea tripartite military alliance in Northeast Asia,” KCNA cited the Rodong commentary as saying. Joint actions such as defense studies and military exercises have become frequent between the three nations, it said.

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Japan on High Alert After North Korea’s Attack

North Korea’s artillery attack on a South Korean island put the Japanese government on high alert, with Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordering his cabinet members to step up information-gathering and prepare for emergencies.

China sends two ships to patrol islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by Japan, the latest sign of heightened tension between the two nations. Video courtesy of Reuters.

After Mr. Kan gathered his key cabinet ministers for an emergency meeting late Tuesday, Tokyo issued a statement that harshly condemned Pyongyang for its attacks on civilian targets and expressed strong support for South Korea.

"The latest act of provocation undermines the peace and security of the entire northeast Asian region including Japan, not just those of South Korea," chief cabinet secretary Yoshito Sengoku said at a news conference, as he called the attack an "unforgivable act." "We demand an immediate end to this kind of action," he said.

The strong show of support for South Korea comes as Tokyo moves to strengthen security ties with Seoul, as both nations, along with their mutual allies such as the U.S. and Australia, beef up cooperation to counter rising tensions in northeast Asia.

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