North Korea codifies the right to launch preemptive nuclear strikes

North Korea codifies the right to launch preemptive nuclear strikes

Seoul – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country will never give up nuclear weapons, as the regime’s leadership retains the right by law to launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes, state media reported on Friday.

North Korea’s parliament passed a law authorizing the use of nuclear weapons “automatically and immediately” in the event of an imminent attack on the military leadership or “important strategic structures” in the country, the Korean central news agency said. .

The law also updates Pyongyang’s rules for when its nuclear weapons can be used in response to a weapons of mass destruction attack or in the event of a “catastrophic crisis” that threatens the security of the North Korean people. North Korea’s constitution already declares the country a nuclear-weapon state.

“The fundamental importance of legislative policy on nuclear weapons policy is to draw an irreversible line so that we do not trade our nuclear weapons,” Kim said in a speech to the Higher People’s Assembly, the only parliament in the country that approved. the law. He said. Thursday.

South Korea, US will start military exercises that could anger the North

North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006 and has since built an arsenal of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of sending warheads to the US mainland. Officials in Seoul and Washington have warned that Pyongyang may soon resume nuclear tests for the first time since 2017, when the UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions on the regime in response to the development of weapons.

In 2019, Kim held a second summit with then US President Donald Trump, calling for the lifting of sanctions in exchange for disarmament measures. But talks in Hanoi stalled due to disagreements over the easing of sanctions, and talks between Pyongyang and Washington have made little progress over the years.

In recent months, North Korea has escalated tensions by conducting further weapons tests, including a long-range missile earlier this year. The regime has rejected offers from the Biden administration to sit at the table “anytime, anywhere” for nuclear negotiations.

“Pyongyang is essentially saying that the only basis for future negotiations will be that which recognizes North Korea as a nuclear-armed state,” said Chad O’Carroll, executive director of the Korea Risk Group. The regime’s nuclear doctrine raises the question of whether the Biden administration can pursue a policy of dialogue with North Korea, he said.

Kim says North Korea has achieved a miraculous victory over the coronavirus

In his parliamentary speech, Kim also touched on internal issues, saying North Korea will announce its vaccination schedule in November for the first time since the start of the pandemic. However, he did not mention the coronavirus, referring only to the fight against a “harmful virus” and did not elaborate on the type or doses of the vaccine to be administered.

Pyongyang has ignored offers of coronavirus assistance from the United States, South Korea and international organizations. Gavi, the vaccine distribution network for the UN-backed Covax program, said in June that North Korea “understands” it is receiving coronavirus vaccines from China.

As pressure on Washington builds, North Korea strengthens its ties with its ideological and political allies, China and Russia. US intelligence said this week that Russia bought missiles and artillery shells from North Korea while it was waging a war against Ukraine.

“North Korea probably sees a world moving towards its ideals rather than moving away from it, and now is the time to officially declare that its nuclear weapons are permanent,” Chicago adviser Carl Friedhoff said. global relations.

Source: Washington Post

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