Latest

Nuclear status proclaimed by New N Korea constitution

SEOUL: North Korea’s new constitution proclaims its status as a nuclear-armed nation, complicating international efforts to persuade Pyongyang to abandon atomic weapons, analysts said Thursday. An official website seen late Wednesday released the text of the constitution following its revision during a parliamentary session on April 13. “National Defence Commission chairman Kim Jong-Il turned our fatherland into an invincible state of political ideology, a nuclear-armed state and an indomitable military power, paving the ground for the construction of a strong and prosperous nation,” says part of the preamble. The text was carried by the “Naenara” (My Nation) website. The previous constitution, last revised on April 9, 2010, did not carry the term “nuclear-armed state”. Following Kim Jong-Il’s death last December, the country revised the charter to consecrate achievements of the late leader, who was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-Un. The North has been developing nuclear weapons for decades. Its official position has been that it needs them for self-defence against a US nuclear threat, but that it is willing in principle to scrap the atomic weaponry. Under a September 2005 deal reached during six-nation negotiations, Pyongyang agreed to dismantle its nuclear programmes in return for economic and diplomatic benefits and security guarantees. But six-party talks on implementing the deal have been stalled since December 2008. The North has staged two nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009.