‘Decapitation’ Fears Shine Through New NKorea Law

At a glance

  • A new North Korean law calls for “automatic” nuclear launches if the country’s leadership or command and control systems are threatened, underscoring leader Kim Jong Un’s fears of a so-called “decapitation” strike, experts said.
  • In an updated nuclear policy law passed on Thursday, North Korea enshrined the right to use preemptive nuclear strikes to protect itself, with Kim saying the legislation makes the country’s nuclear status “irreversible” and bars denuclearization talks.
  • The law outlines when North Korea could use its nuclear weapons, including if there is an attack on the government’s leadership or the nuclear command and control system.



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