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North Korea claims Japan rearming to realize 'old ambitions'

North Korea claims Japan rearming to realize 'old ambitions'
North Korea accused Japan of military ambitions after reports said Tokyo is expected to deploy a new class of multi-mission frigates by 2022 to its Maritime Self-Defense Force. File Photo by MC1 Michael Russell/U.S. Navy | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- North Korea accused Japan of "acts to realize overseas aggression" after Tokyo's launch of an advanced relay satellite with laser communication into orbit.

Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA said Monday "military movements" taking place in Japan are "intensified initiatives to realize the overseas invasion schemes of the Japanese reactionaries." The article's headline read, "The security of the [Japanese] islands is guaranteed only by renouncing the ambitions of aggression."

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"Time may pass and the [Japanese] regime may change, but the fundamental militaristic nature of Japan remains unchanged," North Korean state media said.

The statement from Pyongyang's news agency comes at a time when Japan has been increasing defense spending to cope with threats from China and North Korea, launching communication satellites into space.

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Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force is to deploy a new class of multi-mission frigates by 2022, the Kumano, which was launched in a ceremony in Okayama on Nov. 19, according to Defense News last month. Tokyo had ordered six frigates and an additional $951 million for two more ships, according to the report.

North Korea said the new frigate's name is a "simple example of the vengeful reinvasion ambitions of the descendants of the extremist samurai," the powerful military caste of feudal Japan.

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The Kumano was a heavy cruiser that was deployed by Japan in the Pacific during World War II.

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North Korea's warning to Japan came the same day online aviation tracker Aircraft Spot tweeted a U.S. B-1B Lancer bomber had left Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and was "heading northbound toward northern Japan and the Sea of Japan."

On Sunday, the U.S. Strategic Command said in statement four B-1B Lancer bombers were deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base to Guam to "reinforce the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region."

"With the ability to carry the largest conventional payload of Joint Air-to-Surface Missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munitions, B-1s are a show of force," said Lt. Col. Robert Horstmann of the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.

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