North Korea’s Kim Promises No More Missile Tests

North Korea's Kim Promises No More Missile Tests
North Korea’s Kim Promises No More Missile Tests

North Korea will halt nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests and shut down its atomic test site, it said today in a move immediately welcomed by US President Donald Trump.

Pyongyang’s declaration, long sought by Washington, will be seen as a crucial step in the fast diplomatic dance on and around the Korean peninsula.

North Korea said that to create an “international environment favourable” for its economy, it would “facilitate close contact and active dialogue” with neighbouring countries and the international community.

It was the first time Kim directly addressed his position on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programmes ahead of planned summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week and with US President Donald Trump in late May or early June.

The North had developed its weapons in what he called a “great victory”, and so “no nuclear test and intermediate-range and inter-continental ballistic rocket test-fire are necessary for the DPRK now”.

“The mission of the northern nuclear test ground has thus come to an end,” he added at the gathering of the central committee of the Workers’ Party, according to the official KCNA news agency.

The party decided that nuclear blasts and ICBM launches will cease as of Saturday – the North has not carried any out since November – and the atomic test site at Punggye-ri will be dismantled to “transparently guarantee” the end of testing.

Within minutes of the report being issued, Trump tweeted: “This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit.”

Seoul too welcomed the announcement, calling it “meaningful progress” towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

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