North Korea: New law makes nuclear program 'irreversible'

North Korea: New law makes nuclear program “irreversible”

The passage of this law eliminates the possibility of talks of denuclearization.

New escalation in North Korea's nuclear arsenal file: Pyongyang has passed a law declaring it is ready to carry out pre-emptive atomic strikes, including in the face of conventional attacks, state media reported on Friday. #x27;State.

The move eliminates the possibility of denuclearization talks, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un saying his country's nuclear state status was now irreversible.

This announcement comes against a backdrop of strained inter-Korean relations. Pyongyang has conducted a record number of missile tests this year and blamed Seoul for the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in its territory.

The new law will allow the North Korean regime to automatically and immediately unleash a preemptive nuclear strike to wipe out hostile forces should a foreign power threaten Pyongyang, according to state agency KCNA.

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In Washington, a spokesperson for the State Department did not react directly to this posture, simply recalling that the United States remained committed […] favor of a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

We have made it clear that we have no hostile intentions towards North Korea and are ready for a meeting without preconditions, which Pyongyang continues to refuse, he said.

France also condemned the adoption of this law in the strongest terms on Friday, noting with deep concern North Korea's increasingly aggressive statements.

This new escalation by the North Korean authorities poses a threat to international and regional peace and security, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

The North Korean text stipulates that the regime can use nuclear weapons in the event of a nuclear or non-nuclear attack by hostile forces against the leaders of the state and the organization of the command of the nuclear forces of North Korea. state, among other situations, according to KCNA.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In July, Mr. Kim said his country was ready to deploy its nuclear deterrent force in the event of a confrontation military with the United States and South Korea.

Renouncing nuclear weapons is completely out of the question [for us], and there can be no denuclearization or negotiation, he said Thursday in a speech to North Korea's parliament, according to KCNA.

This new text testifies to Kim Jong-un's confidence in his country's nuclear and military capabilities, in particular in its intercontinental ballistic missiles that can strike the United States, Cheong Seong-chang told AFP. center for North Korean studies at the Sejong Institute.

This law publicly justifies the use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang, in particular in response to a non-nuclear attack, Mr. Cheong observed.

“[As a dictator], Kim Jong-un does not need laws to launch a nuclear strike, [but the new doctrine] serves to justify its use of nuclear weapons in an emergency, by disclosing in advance the principles of nuclear use at home and abroad. »

—Cheong Seong-chang, Center for North Korean Studies at Sejong Institute

North Korea conducted a record series of weapons tests this year, including firing an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time since 2017.

Des American and South Korean officials have repeatedly warned that the North is preparing to conduct another nuclear test.

The unresolved question of sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give in return has stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang since 2019.

For Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies, the new text clearly reaffirms the position of Pyongyang, which believes that negotiations on denuclearization 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. »

— Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies

Last month, Seoul came up with a big plan to help North Korea , including food, energy, but also aid for the modernization of infrastructure, in exchange for denuclearization.

North Korea has, however, rejected the offer, calling it the height of absurdity.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol claimed last month that his government is not x27;did not plan to equip the country with a nuclear deterrent force.

In late August, the United States and South Korea conducted their largest joint military exercises since 2018 in the face of the growing nuclear threat from North Korea.

Washington is a close security ally of Seoul. Some 28,500 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea to protect it from its neighbor.

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