North Korea passes law to allow pre-emptive nuclear strikes to protect itself | World News

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed he will never abandon the nuclear weapons he says his country needs to counter hostilities from the US.

Kim’s government has now passed a law which enshrines the right to use pre-emptive nuclear strikes to protect its nation.

It comes as the leader accused America of pushing an agenda aimed at weakening the North’s defences and eventually “collapsing” his government.

Kim said the new law would make its nuclear status “irreversible” and bar any denuclearisation talks, 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 his weapons development.

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US and South Korea begin biggest military training in years amid growing North Korean nuclear threat

The North’s parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, passed the law on Thursday, according to state news agency KCNA.

A deputy at the assembly said the law would consolidate North Korea’s position as a nuclear weapons state and ensure the “transparent, consistent and standard character” of its nuclear policy, KCNA reported.

In his speech to the parliament, Kim said: “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.”

The reclusive state's dictator Kim Jong Un observed the test
The reclusive state’s dictator Kim Jong Un observing missile tests

North Korea has already declared itself a nuclear weapons state in its constitution, but the new law goes beyond that to outline when nuclear weapons can be used, including to respond to an attack, or stop an invasion.

It also allows for pre-emptive nuclear strikes if an imminent attack by weapons of mass destruction or against the country’s “strategic targets” is detected.

US President Joe Biden‘s administration has offered to talk to Kim any time, at any place, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has said his country would provide generous economic aid if Pyongyang began to give up its arsenal.

North Korea has rebuffed those overtures, however, saying that the United States and its allies maintain “hostile policies” such as sanctions and military drills that undermine their messages of peace.

“As long as nuclear weapons remain on earth and imperialism remains and manoeuvres of the United States and its followers against our republic are not terminated, our work to strengthen nuclear force will not cease,” Kim said.

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