Kim Jong Un

North Korea on Thursday passed a law officially enshrining its nuclear weapons policies, Reuters reported, citing state media.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the new legislation makes the country’s nuclear status "irreversible" and bars any negotiation on denuclearization.

The North's rubber-stamp parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly, passed the law, according to state news agency KCNA. The law outlines when nuclear weapons can be used, including to protect the country's strategic assets and if it is attacked.

It also bans any sharing of nuclear arms or technology with other countries, KCNA reported.

"The utmost significance of legislating nuclear weapons policy is to draw an irretrievable line so that there can be no bargaining over our nuclear weapons," Kim was quoted as having said in a speech to the Supreme People's Assembly.

The move comes as observers say North Korea appears to be preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017.

North Korea has conducted more than a dozen weapons tests since January, including the firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.

In May, it fired a volley of missiles, including possibly its largest intercontinental ballistic missile.

In July, Pyongyang fired what appeared to be multiple rocket launchers.

The United States and South Korea have warned of a “swift response” if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, but have also offered talks as a way out.

North Korea has ramped up its missile tests ever since talks with Washington on denuclearization failed.

Former US President Donald Trump tried to reach an agreement with North Korea while in office. Kim and Trump met in Hanoi in 2019 for a summit that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times between June 2018 and the conclusion of Trump’s time in office, but made little progress towards denuclearization.

The Biden administration reached out to North Korea shortly after taking office, but the country did not respond to those overtures.