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Kim Jong Un says North Korea’s new law allowing pre-emptive nuclear strikes is ‘irreversible’

North Korea has officially enshrined the right to use pre-emptive nuclear strikes to protect itself in a new law.

Key points:

  • The new law makes North Korea’s nuclear status “irreversible”, and bars denuclearisation talks
  • It also allows for pre-emptive nuclear strikes if, among other things, there is an imminent attack against its leadership
  • Analysts say the goal is to win international acceptance of the country’s status as a “responsible nuclear state”

The country’s leader Kim Jong Un said the legislation also made its nuclear status “irreversible” and bars denuclearisation talks, state media reported on Friday.

The move comes as observers say North Korea appears to be preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017, after historic summits with former US president Donald Trump and other world leaders in 2018 failed to persuade Kim to end weapons development.

The North’s parliament — the Supreme People’s Assembly — passed the legislation on Thursday, according to state news agency KCNA.

The new legislation is a replacement to a 2013 law which first outlined the country’s nuclear status…………………………

Pre-emptive strikes

The original 2013 law stipulated that North Korea could use nuclear weapons to repel invasion or attack by a hostile nuclear state, and make retaliatory strikes.

The new law goes beyond that to allow for pre-emptive nuclear strikes if an imminent attack by weapons of mass destruction or against the country’s “strategic targets”, including its leadership, is detected.

“In a nutshell, there are some really vague and ambiguous circumstances in which North Korea is now saying it might use its nuclear weapons,” Chad O’Carroll, founder of the North Korea-tracking website NK News, said on Twitter.

Like the earlier law, the new version vows not to threaten non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons unless they join with a nuclear-armed country to attack the North.

The new law adds, however, that it can launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike if it detects an imminent attack of any kind aimed at North Korea’s leadership and the command organisation of its nuclear forces.

That is an apparent reference to South Korea’s “Kill Chain” strategy, which calls for pre-emptive strikes on North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure and command system if an imminent attack is suspected…………….

Under the law, Mr Kim has “all decisive powers” over nuclear weapons, but if the command and control system is threatened, then nuclear weapons may be launched “automatically”.

If Mr Kim delegates launch authority to lower commanders during a crisis, that could increase the chances of a catastrophic miscalculation, analysts said.

‘Responsible nuclear state’

The law bans any sharing of nuclear arms or technology with other countries, and is aimed at reducing the danger of a nuclear war by preventing miscalculations among nuclear weapons states and misuse of nuclear weapons, KCNA reported.

Analysts say Mr Kim’s goal is to win international acceptance of North Korea’s status as a “responsible nuclear state.”…………………….. more https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-09/new-north-korea-law-outlines-nuclear-weapons-use-including-preem/101425072

September 20, 2022 - Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war

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