Monday 5, June 2023

N Korea law makes nuke programme ‘irreversible’

Time News Desk: North Korea has passed a law declaring its readiness to launch preventive nuclear strikes, including in the face of conventional attacks, state media said.

The move effectively eliminates the possibility of denuclearisation talks, with leader Kim Jong Un saying the country's status as a nuclear state was now "irreversible".

The announcement comes at a time of heightened tension between North and South, with Pyongyang blaming Seoul for the outbreak of Covid-19 in its territory and conducting a record number of weapons tests this year.

The newly enacted law says North Korea can carry out a preventive nuclear strike "automatically" and "immediately to destroy the hostile forces" when a foreign country poses an imminent threat, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The law specifically states the North can use nuclear weapons "in case of a nuclear or non-nuclear attack by hostile forces on the state leadership and the command organization of the state's nuclear forces", among other situations, according to state media.

"The status of our country as a nuclear weapons state has become irreversible", Kim said, KCNA reported.

The law "publicly justifies Pyongyang's use of its nuclear power" in the event of any military clash, Cheong Seong-chang of the Center for North Korea Studies at the Sejong Institute told AFP.

As the North's dictator, "Kim Jong Un does not need laws to launch a nuclear strike", but the new law serves as a way to "vindicate Kim's use of nuclear weapons in case of emergency by disclosing the principles of nuclear use at home and abroad in advance," he added.

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