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North Korea Revises Nuclear Policy

National

A North Korean flag flutters at the village of Gijungdong in North Korea, in this picture taken near the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two countries. | Image by Kim Hong-Ji, REUTERS

North Korea revised its nuclear policy to include the possibility of using “pre-emptive strikes” and expanded its nuclear status on Thursday.

State media, obtained by Reuters, reported the legislation was passed by the seventh session of North Korea’s 14th Supreme People’s Assembly on September 8. The law rejects years of de-nuclearization negotiations, in a move that Kim Jong Un says is an “irreversible” confirmation of the country’s right to use nuclear weapons. 

Kim Jong Un declared North Korea would “never give up nuclear weapons” and said there was absolutely no “bargaining chip” or negotiation which would convince his country to agree to de-nuclearization, Korean Central News Agency reported.

Nuclear testing in North Korea has been paused since 2017 when world leaders made attempts to get the country to scale down its arsenal. With the new legislation, outside forces will have even less impact on what the country chooses to do with its nuclear program.

The law outlines situations in which the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) could launch nuclear missiles, expanding on a previous 2013 direction that first introduced pre-emptive strikes.

Now, North Korea said a nuclear strike can be automatically carried out immediately to destroy the origin of any provocation if the command and control system of the nuclear force is in danger of an attack by “hostile forces.”

North Korea has criticized the United States for imposing strict sanctions and allegedly trying to take down their regime, Yonhap News reported.

Although U.S. actions are not directly cited in the new nuclear policy, Kim stated that the law carries “great significance in drawing a line” and that his country would “no longer bargain over our nuclear power.” 

“As long as nuclear weapons remain on Earth and imperialism remains and maneuvers of the United States and its followers against our republic are not terminated, our work to strengthen nuclear force will not cease,” Kim Jong Un stated

“The United States remains focused on continuing to coordinate closely with our allies and partners to address the threats posed by DPRK,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The U.S. has no intention of demonstrating hostility toward North Korea, she added. Researchers in 2019 found that one-third of 3,000 Americans surveyed said they would support a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea, as reported by The Washington Post.  

Neighboring countries such as China and Russia have pledged to continue de-nuclearization efforts with North Korea and have increased their monitoring efforts around the Korean Peninsula.       

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