North Korea enshrines nuclear weapons in its constitution

Lazy eyes listen


North Korea’s nuclear weapons development has evolved into more than just a critical national defence plan. It is now a legally mandated pillar of the country’s security apparatus.

North Korea’s nuclear-weapons strategy “has been made permanent as the basic law of the state, which no one is allowed to flout with anything,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in a speech to the country’s Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the state-run media source KCNA published an English version of the speech. The new constitution requires Pyongyang to “deter war and protect regional and global peace by rapidly developing nuclear weapons to a higher level,” according to Kim.

This is a historic event that provided a powerful political lever for remarkably strengthening the national defense capabilities, including the nuclear force, for firmly consolidating the institutional and legal foundations for guaranteeing security and protecting national interests by relying on it,” he added.

The unanimous legislative acceptance of the constitutional change comes just one year after the SPA declared Kim’s nuclear weapons strategy “irreversible,” including authorization for preemptive use of such weapons. North Korea has resisted calls from South Korea and the United States to halt its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, and Kim promised earlier this year to “exponentially” accelerate weapon manufacturing. He has increased missile testing in response to rising tensions with Washington and Seoul.

The US-South Korean-Japan military alliance has evolved as the “Asian-version NATO, the root cause of war and aggression,” according to Kim. “This is just the worst actual threat, not threatening rhetoric or an imaginary entity.”

North Korea, if it had relied on the “nuclear umbrella” of other countries, would have been subjected to increased “blackmail” from the US and “would have certainly suffered a nuclear holocaust and total destruction long ago,” Kim added. Pyongyang, he continued, had reached a “proud reality” in which its nuclear programme “enhances national prestige and might and steers the world towards justice.”

Kim also called for more unity with nations “opposed to the US and the West’s hegemonic strategy.” North Korea’s leader visited Vladivostok earlier this month to discuss military cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, no agreements were struck during Kim’s visit.