PYONGYANG: North Korea has condemned a recently drafted U.S. defense spending proposal, accusing Washington and the Pentagon of attempting to maintain military dominance by pouring money into the armed forces.
The House Armed Services Committee released earlier this month a $717 billion proposal for the annual National Defense Authorization Act designed to provide the Defense Department with new equipment and improve its readiness for conflict.
It also contained clauses specifically targeting leading U.S. military rivals Russia and China, who have complained that the U.S. has unjustly viewed their rise as a challenge to its own power, a view shared by North Korea.
“It shows that the U.S. is seeking to block multi-polarization of the world and keep the unipolar world at any cost. The U.S. has not given up even a moment its wild design to change the world in its favor, dominating it single-handedly. It regards military spending as the size of strength,” Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee, wrote in a commentary, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
“China, Russia and all other countries that challenge the unipolar world by the U.S. are regarded as targets of obstacle lying in the way of realizing ‘peace by strength.’ The U.S. ambition to dominate the world with strength remains unchanged in any case,” the commentary read.
The commentary underscored rising U.S. military spending throughout and after the Cold War, a trend that has inflated the nation’s defense budget to a size larger than the next 10 countries combined.
As Russia and China invest in their own armed forces and increase their political influence, Rodong Sinmun wrote that the U.S. was frantically trying to “establish its supremacy over this planet” by checking its competitors in strategic regions such as the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The latest bill would not only further expand the Pentagon’s budget, but it also lay new sanctions on Russia’s defense industry and prohibit cooperation between the U.S. and Russian militaries.
The proposal targeted China too, forbidding the U.S. from dealing with Chinese firms Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp, which the document’s authors accused of being linked to China’s spy agency.
The proposal also called for an official estimate as to the number of casualties that would result if the U.S. conducted military action against North Korea. Such language has been viewed as provocative by North Korea, which has argued its nuclear weapons program were worth the heavy international sanctions because it provided a deterrent against potential U.S. invasion.
Russia and China, which have sought closer bilateral military, political and economic cooperation, have also opposed North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, but have opposed U.S. military deployments in the Pacific.
Therefore, Moscow and Beijing have backed a “freeze-for-freeze” approach in which North Korea would halt nuclear testing in exchange for the U.S. suspending military drills.
North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un announced earlier this month he would stop nuclear testing and longer-range missile launches as well as dismantle his nuclear testing site ahead of a landmark meeting with President Donald Trump.
The U.S., however, has indicated it would not reciprocate.