New escalation in the North Korean nuclear arsenal dossier: Pyongyang approved a law authorizing a preventive atomic attack and declaring the state of nuclear energy in the country “irreversible”, state media announced Friday. This announcement comes in a context of tense inter-Korean relations. Pyongyang conducted a record number of missile tests this year and blamed Seoul for the recent Covid-19 outbreak that hit the country.
This law will allow the North Korean regime to launch a preemptive nuclear strike “automatically” and “immediately destroy hostile forces” should a foreign power threaten Pyongyang, according to the state agency KCNA. With this new text, “the status of our country as a nuclear-armed state has become irreversible,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said, according to KCNA.
In July, Kim Jong-un said his country was “ready to deploy” its nuclear deterrence force in the event of a military confrontation with the United States and South Korea. “It is completely out of the question (for us) to give up. nuclear weapons and there can be no denuclearization or negotiation, “he said Thursday in a speech before the North Korean parliament, according to KCNA.
Spring missile tests
This new text testifies to Kim Jong-un’s confidence in his country’s nuclear and military capabilities, particularly its ICBMs that can strike the United States, Cheong Seong-chang of the study center told AFP. . This law “publicly justifies Pyongyang’s use of nuclear weapons,” particularly in response to a non-nuclear attack, Cheong noted.
North Korea carried out a record series of weapons tests this year, including the launch of an ICBM for the first time since 2017. US and South Korean officials have repeatedly warned that the North is preparing to conduct another test. nuclear.
7th edition nuclear test coming soon
The unresolved question of easing sanctions and what Pyongyang would be willing to give in return has blocked negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang since 2019. For Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, the new text clearly reaffirms the position. of Pyongyang, which believes that denuclearization negotiations are no longer on the agenda.
“Pyongyang is likely to forge closer ties with China and Russia against Washington and (…) conduct a seventh nuclear test in the near future,” he told AFP.
Last month Seoul offered a major aid package to North Korea, including food, energy, but also aid for infrastructure modernization, in exchange for denuclearization.
North Korea, however, rejected the offer, calling it “the height of absurdity”. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said last month that his government had no plans to provide the country with a nuclear deterrent.
In late August, the United States and South Korea conducted the largest joint military exercises since 2018 in the face of North Korea’s growing nuclear threat. Washington is a close ally of Seoul for security. About 28,500 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea to protect her from her neighbor.