North Korean Law Bans Denuclearization, Orders Automatic Nuclear Attack If Leaders Harmed

People watch a news program that was showing part of a North Korean handout photo that say
AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

North Korean state media reported on Friday that dictator Kim Jong-un signed a law making the Communist tyranny’s march to nuclear weapons “irreversible,” banning all further denuclearization talks with the outside world, and mandating an immediate nuclear attack if Kim or other top officials is harmed by foreign powers.

The new legislation, passed by the rubber-stamp “Supreme People’s Assembly” on Thursday, supersedes a 2013 law that laid out North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in less belligerent terms. Among other differences, the 2013 law did not specify conditions under which North Korea would initiate a nuclear war without hesitation.

In addition to using its atomic weapons to retaliate against “decapitation” strikes against the Communist aristocracy, the new law stipulates nuclear weapons will be preemptively launched if North Korea believes it might be attacked with weapons of mass destruction, if the regime believes its “existence” is threatened, or if North Korea appears to be losing a conventional military conflict.

Kim rolled out the new law with a bellicose speech in which he accused the United States of trying to weaken North Korea, with the ultimate goal of “collapsing” his regime. He denounced the U.S. and South Korea for resuming joint military exercises, and vowed his regime would not abandon its nuclear missile program, even if punitive international sanctions lasted for “one hundred years.”

File footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is shown on a television screen at a train station in Seoul on September 9, 2022, after North Korea passed a law allowing it to carry out a preventive nuclear strike and declaring its status as a nuclear-armed state “irreversible”, state media said Friday. (ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

“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.

“As long as nuclear weapons remain on earth, and imperialism remains and maneuvers of the United States and its followers against our republic are not terminated, our work to strengthen nuclear force will not cease,” he railed.

Kim made derogatory references to South Korea’s “Kill Chain” strategy, a decade-old protocol de-emphasized under liberal President Moon Jae-in but revived by his successor, Yoon Suk-yeol. The Moon administration did not completely abandon Kill Chain, but it gave the protocol a less menacing name, the “Strategic Strike System,” and downplayed its importance.

Kill Chain outlines an effort to take out North Korea’s nuclear command structure and senior leadership with preemptive strikes if South Korea believes a nuclear attack from the North is “imminent.” 

The Yoon administration in July approved a purchase order for 20 more F-35A stealth fighters from the United States over the next six years, at a cost of almost $3 billion, to improve its ability to execute Kill Chain plans. South Korea currently has 40 F-35s in its inventory.

North Korea mockingly refused diplomatic overtures from the Biden administration over the summer, and last month it hurled insults at Yoon for offering to assist North Korea with its faltering economy and food crisis, in exchange for a resumption of denuclearization talks.

The U.S., South Korea, and other observers believe North Korea is about to resume nuclear testing, ending a five-year pause that began under the Trump administration. Satellite images show work apparently under way to reactivate the underground nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri, which was ostentatiously shut down and supposedly demolished in 2018. 

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), North Korea is moving “full steam ahead” with uranium enrichment. Satellite intelligence suggests the reactor at Yongbyon, which produces North Korea’s supply of weapons-grade plutonium, was reactivated in July.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.