North Korea media slams missile warning pact between Seoul, US, Japan

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean media criticised on Thursday plans by South Korea, the United States and Japan to share real-time data on Pyongyang's missile launches, describing the trio as discussing "sinister measures" for tightening military cooperation.

The information sharing pact is a result of American efforts to incite confrontation and boost its military edge in the region by "cooking up the 'Asian-version NATO'," said a commentary under the name Kang Jin Song, an international affairs analyst, carried in state media KCNA.

"This is heightening the vigilance of regional countries including the DPRK to the maximum," it said, using the initials of the country's official name.

The comments come after the leaders of South Korea, the United States and Japan met at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, at the weekend and agreed to deepen trilateral cooperation on security.

The discussions included new coordination in the face of North Korea's illicit nuclear and missile threats, as well as on economic security, and on their respective Indo-Pacific Strategies, according to the White House.

North Korea has undertaken a series of missile and weapons tests in recent months, most recently a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The North's missile and nuclear weapons programmes are banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The pact to share real-time missile warning data was first announced at a trilateral summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November, and described as an effort to improve each country’s ability to detect and assess the threat posed by incoming missiles, a major step for deterrence, peace and stability.

The KCNA commentary also criticized other U.S.-led military alliances including the AUKUS pact with Britain and Australia, the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance and the Quad group of nations, which also includes India, Australia and Japan, as exclusionary and confrontational.

South Korean and U.S. forces this week are holding their largest-ever live-fire exercises in a show of force that North Korea has criticised as "warmongers' madness."

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Ed Davies)