NKorea's Leader says, "Will Suspend Nuclear and Missile Testing"

Lawrence Kim
April 21, 2018

"The historic direct telephone line between the leaders of the South and North was connected a short while ago", South Korean presidential official Youn Kun Young said in a news briefing.

The decision was made at the plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), which drew keen attention over whether the North would possibly unveil a shift in stance toward its nuclear programs.

Before the last round of talks broke down, North Korea agreed to shut down nuclear facilities in exchange for steps toward normalizing relations with Japan and the U.S., as well as fuel aid. The new body includes the country's most powerful individuals in state, military and party affairs and is seen as crucial for Kim to consolidate his power and centralize governance.

President Moon said Thursday that North Korea has voiced a willingness for "complete denuclearization" and does not attach conditions that the USA can not accept, such as the withdrawal of US forces stationed in South Korea.

President Donald Trump has been upping the ante for his planned meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, increasing the pressure on his administration to deliver results on an issue that has vexed his predecessors but that Trump has now embraced as his signature foreign policy initiative.

"North Korea's nuclear test center will be discarded in order to ensure the transparency of the suspension of the nuclear test".

Trump intends to meet with Kim Jong-Un in May or June.

The United States and North Korea are planning a separate summit, although no date has been set.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera and US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis pledged to maintain "maximum pressure" on North Korea to force it to give up its nuclear and missile programmes, Onodera told reporters after talks with Mattis at the Pentagon. But it has not launched a missile test since late November, or conducted a nuclear test since last September.

On Thursday, Moon said the North had expressed a commitment to "complete denuclearization".

"I don't know exactly how they'll go about it", he said.

Many say it is unlikely that the North will trade away its hard-won nuclear weapons without getting what it wants in return.

The North is likely to want the U.S.to curtail joint exercises with South Korea, and to withdraw both its advanced missile defense system and nuclear equipment - including bombers and submarines - from the area, he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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