Any move by the United States to place new ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in South Korea could spark a “new Cold War,” North Korean state media said on Wednesday.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper this month said he was in favor of placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia, a day after the US withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia. Other senior US officials have said any deployment of such weaponry would be years away, Reuters reported.

“It is a reckless act of escalating regional tension, an act that may spark off a new Cold War and arms race in the Far Eastern region to deploy a new offensive weapon in South Korea,” North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said in a commentary.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said there had been no discussion of placing American intermediate-range missiles in the country, and there were no plans to consider the idea.

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