Seoul In dispute about North Korea's nuclear weapons program the position of the authoritarian Asian country has further hardened. The Supreme People's Assembly - North Korea's largely powerless parliament - passed a state nuclear policy law that mandates the use of nuclear weapons not only as a deterrent but also automatically in the event of a threatened attack on the country's leadership.
With the new law, North Korea's status as a nuclear weapon state is now irrevocable, the state media reported on Friday. North Korea Despite extensive diplomatic isolation because of its weapons programs, it already describes itself in its constitution as a nuclear power.
The law was reportedly passed at a parliamentary session on Thursday. The legislation is of great importance because it "draws an immovable line so that our nuclear weapons cannot be negotiated," ruler Kim Jong Un was quoted as saying. The United States accused Kim of wanting not only to get rid of his country's nuclear weapons but also to overthrow its government.
Negotiations between the US and North Korea have since collapsed Kim's summit with the former US President donald trump stopped moving forward in Vietnam in February 2019. At the time, both sides were unable to agree on a timetable for nuclear disarmament in North Korea.
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The new law gives Kim "decisive power" over the country's nuclear weapons. Should the command or control center for the nuclear force be in danger of being attacked, a nuclear strike could be "automatic and instantaneous" to repel enemy forces, it said. The nuclear weapons could also be used in the event of an attack with other weapons of mass destruction.
North Korea has conducted multiple nuclear weapons tests since the beginning of the year
According to observers, North Korea is taking a more offensive position in the nuclear dispute than before with the new law. In April, Kim Jong Un said he wanted to speed up the expansion of the nuclear force and not limit its purpose to deterrence. "Much is not new, however: the deterrence of war and the defense against an invasion, for example, should the deterrence fail, have always been the purpose of North Korean nuclear weapons," wrote the expert Ankit Panda, on the new law on Twitter.
The passage of the law and Kim's comments come at a time of growing uncertainty in the region. North Korea has already tested nuclear-capable missiles several times this year, thereby violating UN resolutions. Because of its nuclear program, Pyongyang is subject to tough international sanctions. North Korea, in turn, accuses the United States of hostile policies.