North Korea's parliament has written the DPRK's status as a nuclear power into the constitution, local state media reported, as quoted by AFP.
"The DPRK's policy of building up nuclear forces has become an inalienable part of the country's basic law, which no one can ignore in any way," North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told a meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
North Korea has carried out a record number of weapons tests this year, and relations with South Korea and the United States are very tense, all amid fears that Pyongyang may conduct another nuclear test for the first time since 2017. Since 2006, it has made a total of six, BTA points out.
A year ago, the assembly passed a law declaring North Korea a nuclear-weapon state, and Kim said that status was "irreversible." This new law also allowed for the preventive use of nuclear weapons.
But now, further stoking hopes of nuclear disarmament, parliament has gone one step further, writing the status of nuclear weapons into the constitution itself, notes AFP.
"This is a historic event, providing a powerful political tool to remarkably strengthen national defense capabilities," Kim said.
He added that the US, South Korea and Japan had formed "a tripartite military alliance, which ultimately resulted in the emergence of an Asian version of NATO - a source of war and aggression."
"This is not just a rhetorical or imaginary threat, it is completely real," Kim said.
This year, North Korea conducted a series of tests of banned weapons; the latest was on September 13, when two short-range ballistic missiles were fired as Kim prepared to leave for Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin.
Last month, North Korea unsuccessfully attempted to launch a reconnaissance satellite into Earth orbit for the second time.
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