North Korean ambassador to the United Nations Kim Song on September 26 criticised the “hostile policies” of the United States for forcing Pyongyang to abandon the no first use policy governing its nuclear arsenal, which it had previously been one of just three nuclear weapons states to adhere to alongside China and India. Speaking at the UN General Assembly he stressed that the “growing hostility of the U.S. and its following forces” had placed the security situation on the Korean Peninsula into a vicious cycle of tension and confrontation, citing American-led military exercises on and surrounding the peninsula simulating attacks on his country as an example of the kind of policies that forced it to bolster its military and nuclear capabilities. “Obviously, this is an extremely dangerous act of igniting the fuse to drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war,” he said. “The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – North Korea’s official name] has found another correct answer to defending its sovereignty and fundamental interests from the persistent hostile policy and military threat of the United States and its following forces and to ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the region,” the ambassador added alluding to its investments in a nuclear arsenal.
On September 8 North Korea’s parliament the Supreme People’s Assembly approved a new law which reinforced the legitimacy of the state’s nuclear arsenal and unprecedentedly allowed for preemptive nuclear strikes. This was what Ambassador Kim referred to when stating that “the U.S. compelled the DPRK to adopt a law on the policy of nuclear forces in defiance of the U.S.’ hostility.. In direct proportion to the increase of the hostile policy and military blackmail by the United States against us, our strength is bound to be built up continuously to contain them.” North Korea and the United States have been technically at war since 1950, with the U.S. having come close on multiple occasions since that year to launching nuclear strikes against the East Asian state. The U.S. Military first deployed nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula in 1956 with an arsenal growing to 950 warheads, the bulk of which were aimed at North Korea which at the time had no meaningful retaliatory capability. North Korea was estimated by U.S. intelligence to have gained a limited nuclear weapons capability in the early 1990s, but tested its first warhead in 2006 and completed development of a miniaturised thermonuclear warhead in 2017. That year the country also demonstrated for the first time the ability to strike the United States mainland with intercontinental range ballistic missiles. Ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons have been key to the country’s ability to deter and if necessary go to war with the U.S. due to the disparity in conventional forces favouring the U.S. Military and its allies and America’s fielding of its own large nuclear arsenal.