SEOUL, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- North Korea accused the United States and South Korea of increasing the threat of nuclear war after the two sides agreed to strengthen the regular deployment of U.S. strategic assets to the peninsula.
A Pyongyang foreign ministry spokesman told a reporter for state-controlled news agency KCNA the bilateral agreement on extended nuclear deterrence is escalating tensions on the peninsula.
"The United States and the South Korean puppets last October announced an 'extended deterrence consultative group' and held their first meeting," the spokesman said, referring to the first session of the high-level Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group held last week. "This is a serious act of provocation that further aggravates the situation on the Korean peninsula and increases the risk of nuclear war."
The spokesman also said the decision to regularly deploy U.S. strategic assets to the peninsula was to "regularize, institutionalize" military pressure against North Korea.
"The United States, through the formation of a trilateral alliance with Japan and South Korea, are trying to create an Asian NATO to check their competitors, and realize their hegemonic ambition by securing military superiority in the Asia-Pacific region," the spokesman said.
The official added Pyongyang would continue to grow its nuclear arsenal to deter against the "threats."
North Korea has tested two nuclear weapons and test-launched dozens of ballistic missiles in 2016.
Pyongyang is also publicizing its air force capabilities through an annual "air festival," to be held in September 2017, South Korean news agency News 1 reported.
North Korea is to hold the second annual Wonsan International Friendship Air Festival Sept.23-24.
Last September North Korea demonstrated the U.S.-made Hughes MD 500 military-use helicopters and the MIG-29 fighter jets.