Let’s Tune In: North Korea declares its nuclear potential

Giuseppe Maria Bartalotta

Let’s Tune In is a weekly column produced by our Newsroom team to highlight one story that you might have missed from last week. You can read more about our weekly content on the Newsroom page.


On September 8th, North Korea promulgated the law of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK the state policy on nuclear forces. North Korea officially refuses the use of these weapons and engages itself to build a peaceful world and a world where international justice is realized. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a record of nuclear weapons launches from North Korea, there are 17 until now and they have been launched without USA and UN concern due to the Ukrainian war priority acquired on this issue.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said on Friday:” “We will not waive our right for self-defence, which is crucial for the country’s existence, for the security of the state and its people, no matter how difficult the situation is,” he said. “Regardless of the political and military situation on the Korean peninsula, brought about by the USA, we won’t reject nuclear weapons, because we need to deter the USA, which is a nuclear power.”

North Korea has always thought that nuclear weapons were necessary for its survival since the end of the civil war in 1953 when the division of the Korean peninsula became official and the peninsula was divided into the Communist North and the Capitalist South. Since that period nuclear weapons are seen by the leader of North Korea as a tool that stretches and guarantees the sovereignty of its territory. North Korea started its project in 1956 and slowly grew until today, a project that the nation has never needed because of the presence of US militaries and nuclear forces.

According to the North Korean statement on nuclear weapons, they have the aim to: deter a possible attack or aggression against them; win the war in case it begins. The statement also says that the composition of the nuclear weapons must be diversified and it must have different kinds of nuclear warheads, delivery means, command and control systems, and all the personnel, equipment, and facilities for the system’s operating and updating.

The use of these weapons is a decision made by the president of the State Affairs of the DPRK. As stated, these weapons can be used only if the country has to cope with outside aggression which attempts the North Korean sovereignty on its territory, and what the country cannot do is threaten non-nuclear countries around it unless they are engaged against North Korea with nuclear power.

The Biden Administration explained several times that it wanted to talk with Pyongyang but it has not happened yet. Biden was clear he wished to use with Pyongyang a mix of dialogue and “stern deterrence” and, for this reason, Kim Jong-un replied that his country had to be ready to talk and confront. On the other side, Putin congratulated North Korea on its anniversary and said he would be happy to continue its peaceful and essential relationship for good, in the name of North-eastern stability.

The North Korean nuclear project was slow because the countries which could help them were not sure of North Korean intentions, for this reason, neither the communist countries have helped their project consistently. Today, North Korea has its arsenal and the International Community hopes it will keep it safe and behave responsibly. Today North Korea and its regime are stronger but the situation in Asia is less foreseeable, and for this reason, more dangerous. Drawing from Biden‘s words, the nuclear “autocracies” are growing and maybe there is a necessity for a new way of thinking and talking about nuclear power.

How will the subject of nuclear power change after the declaration of North Korea? How will the balance of power change in the Pacific?

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Let’s Tune In: North Ko…

by Giuseppe Maria Bartalotta time to read: 3 min
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