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North Korea suspends nuclear, missile tests ahead of summit with South, US

North Korea also vowed to actively engage with regional neighbours, international community to secure peace in Korean Peninsula

AP | PTI  |  Seoul 

North Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

North Korea said on Saturday it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close its nuclear test site.

The announcement came ahead of a new round of nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang, and Washington, but there was no clear indication in the North's announcement if it would be willing to deal away its arsenal.

The North rather expressed confidence about its nuclear force, which leader declared as complete in November after a slew of weapons tests that included the underground detonation of a purported thermonuclear warhead and flight tests of three intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Some analysts believe Kim is entering the negotiations from a position of strength and is unlikely to accept a significant cut of his arsenal. South Korean and US officials have said Kim is likely trying to save his broken economy from heavy sanctions.

After the announcement today about testing, US President tweeted, "This is very good news for North Korea and the World" and "big progress!" He also said he's looking forward to his upcoming summit with Kim.
 


 The North's official Korean Central News Agency said the country is making the move to shift its national focus and improve its economy.

North Korea also vowed to actively engage with regional neighbours and the community to secure peace in the Korean Peninsula and create an "optimal environment" to build its economy.

The announcements came days before Kim is set to meet South Korean President in a border truce village for a rare summit aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.

A separate meeting between Kim and Trump is anticipated in May or June.

The North's decisions were made in a meeting of the ruling party's full Central Committee which had convened to discuss a "new stage" of policies.

The Korean Workers' Party's Central Committee declared it a "great victory" in the country's official "byungjin" policy line of simultaneously pursuing economic and nuclear development.

The committee unanimously adopted a resolution that called for concentrating national efforts to achieve a strong socialist economy and "groundbreaking improvements in people's lives." "To secure transparency on the suspension of nuclear tests, we will close the republic's northern nuclear test site," the party's resolution said.

The agency quoted Kim as saying during the meeting: "Nuclear development has proceeded scientifically and in due order and the development of the delivery strike means also proceeded scientifically and verified the completion of nuclear weapons.

"We no longer need any nuclear test or test launches of intermediate and intercontinental range ballistic missiles and because of this the northern nuclear test site has finished its mission."

says Kim has expressed genuine interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons. But North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of "denuclearization" that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development unless removes its troops from the peninsula.

First Published: Sat, April 21 2018. 08:46 IST
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