Kim vowed the country would “never give up” its nuclear weapons and said there would be no negotiations on denuclearization as he praised the passage of the law, North Korean state media reported Friday.
The new law also spells out Pyongyang’s right to use preemptive nuclear strikes to protect itself — updating a previous stance in which it said it would only maintain its weapons until other countries denuclearized and they will not be used in advance against non-nuclear states.
“The adoption of laws and regulations related to the national policy of nuclear force is a remarkable event because it is our declaration that we have legally obtained the deterrence of war as a means of national defense,” Kim said.
“As long as nuclear weapons remain on Earth, and imperialism and the anti-North Korean maneuvers of the US and its followers remain, our road to strengthening our nuclear force will never end.”
The new law also prohibits the sharing of nuclear technology with other countries.
It comes amid rising tensions in the region over North Korea’s expansion of its nuclear weapons and missiles.
Kim has made increasingly provocative threats of nuclear conflict with the United States and its Asian allies in recent months.
At the same time, the US is increasingly concerned that North Korea may be preparing to conduct its first underground nuclear test in years.
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the law reflected Pyongyang’s hope to strengthen its ties with China and Russia at a time of rising global tensions.
“North Korea mentioning the possibility of using nuclear weapons if and when an attack on the state and leader is imminent is significant, even though it states nuclear weapons as a defensive last resort,” said Yang.