North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un presiding over the opening of the third Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea on June 15. North Korea warned that a new nuclear sub deal with the United States, Britain and Australia could start an arms race in the region. Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE
Sept. 20 (UPI) -- North Korea said Monday that a controversial new defense deal in which the United States, Australia and Britain will share nuclear submarine technology could spark an arms race in the Asian-Pacific corridor.
Last week, the White House announced the multinational deal, called AUKUS, which was immediately criticized by China and angered France, which had a submarine deal with Australia canceled because of the pact.
"These are extremely undesirable and dangerous acts, which will upset the strategic balance in the Asia-Pacific region and trigger off a chain of a nuclear arms race," North Korean state news media Korean Central News Agency said, according to the Washington Post, quoting a foreign ministry official.
"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."
Biden stressed last week that the deal does not include nuclear weapons.
"I want to be exceedingly clear about this: We're not talking about nuclear-armed submarines," Biden said. "These are conventionally armed submarines that are powered by nuclear reactors."
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi warned Monday that North Korea's nuclear ambitions continued almost undeterred.
"In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, [the] nuclear program goes full steam ahead with work on plutonium separation, uranium enrichment and other activities," Grossi said at an IAEA meeting, according to The Independent.