NewsFrightening! North Korea passed a law authorizing the launch...

Frightening! North Korea passed a law authorizing the launch of pre-emptive nuclear strikes.

North Korea has passed a law authorizing the launch of pre- emptive nuclear strikes and declaring its atomic weapons program “irreversible,” state media reported on Friday.

The announcement comes amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, where Pyongyang has conducted an unprecedented series of weapons tests this year and blamed Seoul for the outbreak of COVID-19 on its soil.

The enacted text allows the North to launch a preemptive nuclear strike “automatically” and “immediately destroy hostile forces” if a foreign force poses an imminent threat to Pyongyang, the official KCNA news agency said.

Also, with the new law, “our country’s status as a nuclear-armed state becomes irreversible,” leader Kim Jong Un said, according to KCNA.

In July, Kim assured that the country was “prepared to mobilize” its nuclear capabilities in an eventual war against the United States and South Korea.

In addition, he reiterated that they would never dispense with the necessary nuclear weapons to counteract the hostility of the United States, which, he said, seeks to “collapse” its power at any moment.

“There is absolutely no possibility of giving up nuclear weapons first, and there is no denuclearization and no negotiation,” he insisted during a speech to North Korea’s parliament on Thursday, according to KCNA.

Nonnegotiable nuclear program

The new law shows Kim’s confidence in his country’s military and nuclear capabilities, including intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, said Cheong Seong-chang of the Center for North Korea Studies at the Sejong Institute.

The law “openly justifies Pyongyang’s use of nuclear power” in the event of a military confrontation, including in response to non-atomic attacks, Cheong added.

North Korea has deployed a record series of military tests since January, including the first full-range ICBM since 2017.

The United States and South Korea have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang is preparing for what would be its seventh nuclear test.

Despite his tougher stances on Pyongyang, the new South Korean president, Yoon Suk-yeol, last month offered an aid plan for the northern neighbor in exchange for an abandonment of the nuclear program.

But the communist regime rejected the proposal, saying it was “the height of absurdity” and ruled out a negotiation with Seoul.

For Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, this new law reaffirms Pyongyang’s position that its nuclear program is no longer on the negotiating table.

“Pyongyang will probably strengthen ties with China and Russia against Washington and (…) carry out its seventh nuclear test in the near future,” he assured in an interview for agencies.

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

Washington is a staunch ally of Seoul in terms of security. Some 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea.

With information from Reuters and AFP.

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