Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) has amended its constitution to make nuclear weapons a legal right of the state, according to state media. The move comes amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and growing concerns over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile capabilities.
The amendment was unanimously adopted by the Supreme People’s Assembly, DPRK’s parliament, on Wednesday. It states that the country’s pursuit of a nuclear force is “the basic law of the state” and that no one is allowed to violate it.
The amendment also calls for accelerating the modernization of nuclear weapons to maintain a “definite edge” in deterring threats from hostile forces, such as the United States and South Korea.
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un praised the amendment as a “historic event” that would strengthen the national defense capabilities and safeguard the sovereignty and dignity of the country.
He said that DPRK’s nuclear force-building policy was “irreversible” and that it would continue to develop its nuclear arsenal until the US abandons its “hostile policy” towards Pyongyang.
DPRK has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006, the last one in 2017. It has also launched several ballistic and cruise missiles in recent months, some of which were capable of carrying mock nuclear warheads.
The US and its allies have imposed multiple sanctions on DPRK for its nuclear and missile activities, but have failed to persuade Pyongyang to give up its weapons programs.
The US has also sought to revive diplomatic talks with DPRK which have stalled since 2019. However, DPRK has rejected any dialogue unless the US drops its “hostile policy” and lifts sanctions.
DPRK’s latest constitutional amendment is seen as a defiant message to the international community and a challenge to the US administration of President Joe Biden, who has vowed to pursue a “calibrated and practical” approach towards Pyongyang.