N. Korea slams Japan's plan to move up US missile purchase as 'arrogant choice'

North Korea on Monday condemned Japan's move to accelerate its planned acquisition of Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States as an "arrogant choice," warning that it will heighten regional tensions.

Earlier this month, Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said Tokyo aims to purchase the missiles as early as fiscal 2025, a year earlier than planned, following talks with his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, in Washington. He later said Japan is also reviewing speeding up the deployment of its homegrown long-range missiles.

"Japan's arrogant choice will create new challenges to its security and will result in escalating tension on the Korean peninsula and in the region," the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in an English commentary.

The KCNA also slammed how the leaders of South Korea, US and Japan agreed to enhance security cooperation during their summit in Camp David in August, claiming that "war state Japan's reinvasion is not a fiction but a reality."

"Japan should not act rashly," the KCNA said, stressing that the North's armed forces are closely keeping tabs on Japan's every move, to defend peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the surrounding region.

North Korea has been seeking to bolster military ties with Russia while criticizing growing trilateral security cooperation among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington as "the Asian version of NATO." (Yonhap)