North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed he will never give up the nuclear weapons he says his country needs to counter US hostilities.
Kim’s government has now passed legislation enshrining the right to use preemptive nuclear strikes to protect its nation.
It comes as the leader has accused America of promoting an agenda to weaken the North’s defenses and ultimately “collapse” its government.
Kim said the new law would make his nuclear status “irreversible” and ban any discussion of denuclearization, state media reported on Friday.
Observers say North Korea appears to be preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017, after historic summits with then-US President Donald Trump and other world leaders in 2018 failed to persuade Kim to abandon its weapons development.
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The northern parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, passed the law on Thursday, according to the official KCNA news agency.
A lawmaker in the assembly said the law would cement North Korea’s position as a nuclear-weapon state and ensure the “transparent, consistent and standard nature” of its nuclear policy, KCNA reported.
In his speech to parliament, Kim said, “The greatest importance of legislating nuclear weapons policy is to draw an irremediable line so that there can be no negotiation over our nuclear weapons.”
North Korea has already declared itself a nuclear-weapon state in its constitution, but the new law goes beyond that by stating when nuclear weapons can be used, including to respond to an attack or stop an invasion.
It also allows preemptive nuclear strikes if an imminent attack by weapons of mass destruction or against the country’s “strategic targets” is detected.
The American President Joe BidenThe South Korean administration has offered to talk to Kim anytime and anywhere, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has said his country will provide generous economic aid if Pyongyang starts giving up its arsenal.
North Korea, however, has rebuffed those overtures, saying the United States and its allies maintain “hostile policies” such as sanctions and military exercises that undermine their messages of peace.
“As long as nuclear weapons remain on earth and imperialism persists and the maneuvers of the United States and its supporters against our republic are not ended, our work to strengthen nuclear force will not cease,” Kim said. .