North Korea passed a law Thursday allowing the country to use preemptive nuclear strikes, a move that Kim Jon-un said was “irreversible.”
“The utmost significance of legislating nuclear weapons policy is to draw an irretrievable line so that there can be no bargaining over our nuclear weapons,” Kim said in a speech to the assembly, according to Reuters. North Korea would never give up nuclear weapons, even if they faced 100 years of sanctions, he added.
The law states North Korea can use nuclear weapons as a war tactic, to counter an imminent foreign nuclear or non-nuclear attack, or if the country or its residents are in danger, among other things, according to state media.
North Korea claimed that it would not “threaten non-nuclear states with its nuclear weapons nor use nuclear weapons against them unless they join aggression or attack” the country, but said that nuclear weapons can be used if the state’s leadership or its nuclear command are in danger.
The country also vowed in the law to not “deploy nuclear weapons in the territory of other countries” and to not share information about nuclear weapons.
The move comes after Kim threatened in July to use nuclear weapons agains the U.S. and South Korea in a potential conflict, claiming the U.S. is “openly waging large-scale joint war games, which gravely threaten the security” of North Korea.
“Our armed forces are now fully prepared to cope with any sort of crisis, and our state’s nuclear war deterrent is also fully ready to demonstrate its absolute power accurately and promptly true to its mission,” Kim said at the time.
Intelligence reports indicate North Korea is gearing up to launch a nuclear test, the first since 2017, after former President Donald Trump was unsuccessful in denuclearizing the country despite his many amicable meetings and threats.
In May, President Joe Biden said he was “not concerned” about the possible nuclear tests, and that the only thing he had to say to Kim was “hello.”