N. Korea makes nuclear weapons policy 'irreversible'

STORY: After years of stalled denuclearization talks, North Korea reaffirmed its status as a nuclear state on Friday.

State media reported that Pyongyang passed a new law enshrining the right to use preemptive nuclear strikes to protect itself.

An original 2013 law first outlined North Korea's status as a nuclear state.

It stipulated that the country could retaliate with nuclear weapons to repel an invasion or an attack from a hostile nuclear-capable country.

Now the new law passed on Friday goes beyond that.

If Pyongyang detects what they call an imminent attack by weapons of mass destruction against them, they've granted themselves the right to strike first.

It's an apparent reference to a similar strategy that South Korea unveiled in July, aimed at North Korea.

The North's leader Kim Jong Un said that was a sign of a deteriorating situation.

He added that their new law bars any more denuclearization talks from happening, and declared the point of no return in a speech.

"The utmost significance of legislating nuclear weapons policy is to draw an irreversible line so that there can be no bargaining over our nuclear weapons."

"As long as nuclear weapons remain on earth and imperialism remains and maneuvers of the United States and its followers against our republic are not terminated, our work to strengthen nuclear force will not cease,"

Observers say North Korea appears to be preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017.

And, after historic summits with then-U.S. President Donald Trump and other world leaders in 2018 failed to persuade Kim to give up those tests.

Current U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has offered to return to talks with Kim, while South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol has offered economic aid to Pyongyang - if it agreed to denuclearize.

Kim on Friday said he would never surrender the weapons, even if the country faced a hundred years of sanctions.