North Korean state media said that the country has passed a law that allows it to execute nuclear strikes if enemy forces launch an attack against its leadership.
The law passed on Thursday by the North’s parliament— Supreme People’s Assembly— effectively makes its nuclear-armed status “irreversible” and bars any talks on de-nuclearisation.
“If the command and control system of the national nuclear force is in danger of an attack by hostile forces, a nuclear strike is automatically carried out immediately,” the law says, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
The law further states that nuclear weapons can be used to protect the country’s strategic assets if it is attacked, and bans sharing of nuclear arms or technology with other countries, KCNA reported.
In his speech at the assembly, Kim Jong Un asserted that North Korea will never abandon nuclear weapons and missiles, adding that it needs to counter hostilities from the United States.
He also accused the US of working to weaken the North’s defences and conspiring to dethrone his authoritarian government.
“The utmost significance of legislating nuclear weapons policy is to draw an irretrievable line so that there can be no bargaining over our nuclear weapons,” Kim said in a speech to the Supreme People’s Assembly, reports Reuters.
North Korea has already declared itself a nuclear weapons state in its constitution, but the new law goes further to enshrine when nuclear weapons can be used, including to respond to an attack, or stop an invasion.
US President Joe Biden has offered to talk to Kim any time, at any place, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has said his country would provide massive amounts of economic aid if Pyongyang dials down on ramping up its arsenal.