North Korea has criticized Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's ongoing trip to NATO member countries for bringing "security instability" to the Asia-Pacific region, and warned the bloc against expanding its influence in the area, state-run media said Friday.

Japan serves as a guide "introducing NATO, a legacy of the Cold War, into the Asia-Pacific region" and such a behavior is "sowing the seeds of discord" in the region, the Korean Central News Agency said, quoting an article by Kim Tong Myong, an international politics researcher, released Thursday.

Kishida is currently on a weeklong tour of five Group of Seven countries -- Britain, Canada, France, Italy and the United States, which are all NATO members -- ahead of a G-7 summit to be hosted in Hiroshima, western Japan, in May.

NATO has been "stretching its tentacles to the Asia-Pacific region to put pressure on China," the article said, while it highlighted Kishida's assertion during his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday that the security of Europe and the Indo-Pacific region is in "inseparable relationship."

Apparently bearing in mind China's growing military clout in the region, Kishida and Macron also affirmed in their talks the significance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Pyongyang repeated its criticism of Japan's new national security strategy adopted late last year, saying Tokyo has "completely cast away its veil of a 'pacifist state'" through its decision to acquire the capability to strike enemy bases.

The report claimed some Western countries are "actively joining Japan in its moves to become a military giant, bringing the dark clouds of instability to the Asia-Pacific region."

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