North Korean leadership has made it painfully clear exactly what will happen if their leader, Kim Jong Un, is incapacitated in an attack. They will launch a nuclear retaliation “automatically and immediately.”
This has now become codified for the first time that Jong Un has delegated his strike authority under such a severe scenario.
The legislation has been passed by Kim’s puppet parliament and it clearly allows for preemptive nuclear strikes not only for the dictator’s incapacitation but also if North Korea judges that foreign weapons are moving toward strategic targets or state leadership in the country.
This new codification of this legislation comes on the heels of Kim vowing that he would never part with his nuclear missiles program. It took his country decades to build and they have made them more and more powerful every year.
Kim Jong Un said on Friday to state-run media that North Korea “never give up nuclear weapons and there is absolutely no denuclearization, and no negotiation and no bargaining chip to trade in the process.”
The North Korean leader, like his father before him, is not going to part with his weapons because they solidify his regime.
It has been a commonly held belief that Pyongyang would only use the weapons if and when a foreign nation attacked the country. Their focus has been on the United States, Japan, and South Korea.
But now, the law states that Kim’s nuclear weapons can be launched in the event of any weapons of mass destruction being used against state leadership. The law includes “important strategic objects” or an attack that is underway or “judged to be on the horizon.”
Jenny Town, a senior fellow and director of the 38 North program at the Stimson Center, said, “This raises serious questions about the North’s ability to get accurate intelligence and what the threshold of evidence will be to make those judgment calls.”
This new move by Kim is most likely a response to comments that were made by South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol. He suggested that a preemptive strike on the “kill chain” in North Korea is necessary as Pyongyang prepares an attack. Kim wanted the world to know that the red button in his capital can still be pushed even if he has been killed.
“In case the command and control system over the state nuclear forces is placed in danger owing to an attack by hostile forces, a nuclear strike shall be launched automatically and immediately to destroy the hostile forces including the starting point of provocation and the command according to the operation plan decided in advance,” the new law reads.
Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that the new law underscores the dangers between the United States and South Korea focusing on leadership decapitation strategies.
“It was quite predictable that the North Koreans would go down the path of threatening automatic retaliation if Kim is killed,” Panda said.
Adrienne Watson, the National Security Council spokesperson for the U.S., said that we should not expect the president to change his course with North Korea. She said that America will continue to coordinate with allies for “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
The National Security Council spokesperson made it clear the officials in the United States are still prepared to meet their counterparts in North Korea without any preconditions. This offer has been steady and continually maintained for Pyongyang. But Watson said that North Korea continues to be unwilling to respond to the invitation.
This new legislation put into place by Kim Jong Un has made the world much more dangerous than it already was.