North Korea Passes Law Giving Kim Jong Un Right to Take Nuclear Actions if DPRK Attacked
23:41 GMT 08.09.2022 (Updated: 10:09 GMT 07.12.2022)
US and South Korean forces held live-fire exercises last week in drills that simulated attacking the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The DPRK has passed a new law on nuclear weapons, officially declaring itself to be a nuclear weapons state, the socialist country's media reported on Friday morning.
The new law gives President Kim Jong Un the sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons, but also allows "automatic" use of them if the country is attacked, according to the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency.
The DPRK tested its first nuclear device in 2006 and tested a thermonuclear warhead in 2017, prior to declaring a unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests. It has always maintained that the weapons are for defensive uses only, and that it requires them because South Korea and the United States have refused to sign a peace treaty ending the Korean War that began in 1950. A ceasefire ended the fighting in 1953, but a demilitarized zone separating the Two Koreas has existed ever since, along with a military standoff.
© Photo : Korea Central TelevisionScreengrab of North Korean television showing massive new, never-before-seen ICBM in Pyongyang at celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Saturday, October 10, 2020.
Screengrab of North Korean television showing massive new, never-before-seen ICBM in Pyongyang at celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Saturday, October 10, 2020.
© Photo : Korea Central Television
Speaking before the Supreme People's Assembly, the country's legislative body, on Friday, Kim said the DPRK would never give up its nuclear weapons, even after a "hundred years" of sanctions. He accused the US of duplicitous aims in its attempt to negotiate the DPRK into giving up its nuclear weapons. Denuclearization talks in 2018 and 2019 nearly succeeded, but fell apart when the Trump administration refused to give any concessions on sanctions prior to "verifiable" denuclearization, even though the DPRK dismantled its primary testing site.
The US maintains a 28,000-troop garrison in South Korea, with which it has a defense treaty. Last month, US and South Korean forces carried out live-fire drills just 18 miles from the DMZ simulating a "counterattack" against the DPRK. The DPRK, and many other states, have accused Washington and Seoul of unnecessarily increasing tensions with such drills.
New training materials issued to the South Korean military earlier this year reportedly designated the DPRK as "the enemy." This is in contrast to rhetoric from the DPRK that identifies the United States, and even "war" in general, as the country's chief adversary.
"South Korea is not our principal enemy," Kim Yo Jong, the Deputy Department Director of the Publicity and Information Department of the Workers' Party of Korea, said in April. "That's why our Marshal clarified that our principal enemy is just war itself."