North Korea has passed legislation authorizing preventive nuclear strikes and stating that its nuclear position is “irreversible.”
The official statement declaring the development came on Friday as relations between the North and South are deteriorating.
Pyongyang accuses Seoul of being responsible for the Covid-19 outbreak on its territory and has conducted a record number of missile tests this year.
According to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the law would enable North Korea to launch a nuclear strike automatically and immediately to destroy hostile forces when a foreign country poses an immediate threat to Pyongyang.
In July, the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un declared that his country was prepared to mobilize its nuclear arsenal in the event of a conflict with the South and the United States.
He also emphasized that Pyongyang would never give up the nuclear weapons it needs to defend itself against Washington’s aggression, asserting that the United States constantly aimed to collapse its government.
Discussions on sanctions relief since 2019, and what Pyongyang might be ready to give up in exchange have stalled nuclear negotiations and diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang.
North Korea has conducted a series of weapons tests, including the first full-range launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in 2017.