North Korea's parliament passed an amendment to the constitution that permanently enshrines the growth of its nuclear arsenal, state-run media reported Thursday. Photo by KCNA/UPI
SEOUL, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- North Korea adopted an amendment to its constitution that enshrined the growth of its nuclear arsenal as a "basic law of the state," state-run media reported Thursday.
The amendment was passed at a session of the Supreme People's Assembly, the North's rubber-stamp parliament, held on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Korean Central News Agency.
"The DPRK's nuclear force-building policy has been made permanent as the basic law of the state, which no one is allowed to flout with anything," North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a speech at the session, KCNA reported.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
Pyongyang made the change because "it is standing in protracted confrontation with the U.S., the world's biggest nuclear weapons state and the most dangerous war state, and its vassal forces," Kim said.
Kim "stressed the need to push ahead with the work for exponentially boosting the production of nuclear weapons and diversifying the nuclear strike means and deploying them in different services," KCNA added.
The isolated regime officially declared itself a nuclear state with the right to launch preemptive strikes last year and has continued to conduct weapons tests at a blistering pace.
Recent developments include new short-range ballistic missiles, smaller nuclear warheads and the unveiling of what the North described as a "nuclear tactical attack submarine" earlier this month.
"The greatest success we have achieved this year is that we definitely ushered in a heyday of leaps forward in strengthening the national defense capabilities and nuclear war deterrent of the country," Kim said at the parliamentary session.
The amendment comes after the North Korean leader returned from a six-day visit to Russia last week, with concerns growing that Moscow and Pyongyang are working on a weapons deal.
The White House has said that Russia wants to acquire artillery and other munitions for its war in Ukraine, while North Korea is believed to be seeking advanced technology for its space and missile programs.
Pyongyang failed at two attempts to place a military spy satellite into orbit this year and has announced it will make another launch in October.
The United States and South Korea, meanwhile, have continued to strengthen their military cooperation with joint exercises, including a combined naval drill that kicked off this week.
The two sides signed a deal in April that outlined the regular deployment of U.S. military assets to the peninsula and established a Nuclear Consultative Group to coordinate responses to threats from the North.
Seoul held its own display of martial might on Tuesday, rolling out its latest hardware in a rare military parade commemorating the founding of its armed forces.
During a speech at the event, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol warned the North against any attempts to use its nuclear arsenal.
"The North Korean regime must clearly understand that nuclear weapons cannot protect its security," Yoon said. "If North Korea uses nuclear weapons, we will put an end to the North Korean regime through an overwhelming response."