North Korea says it will suspend all nuclear and missile tests

Lawrence Kim
April 21, 2018

The two Koreas opened a hotline between their leaders Friday, a week before a summit between North Korea's Kim Jong Un and the South's President Moon Jae-in in the Demilitarized Zone.

"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to guarantee transparency in suspending nuclear tests", the statement from North Korea added. North Korea's nuclear weapons, he stressed, were a "precious fruition" for defending the sovereignty of the country from the "nuclear threats of the USA imperialists".

Onodera said the "iron clad U.S. -Japan alliance" must work with the global community to make North Korea abandon all weapons of mass destruction "in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner".

North Korea said it was holding an unusual plenary meeting of the ruling Central Committee of the Workers' Party on Friday to discuss crucial issues.

Still, the regime has been feeling the economic squeeze of sanctions, including by neighbor and ally China, and Trump has frequently warned of military retaliation if Kim were to threaten the US with its weapons.

Leader Kim Jong Un declared the nation's nuclear force as complete in November after a slew of weapons tests that included the underground detonation of a purported thermonuclear warhead.

South Korea's presidential office and Trump welcomed North Korea's decision.

The North Korean leader has placed greater emphasis on economic development alongside his nuclear goals since taking power in 2011, a shift that could make any offers of financial assistance from the USA and its allies more appealing in negotiations. In the opaque world that is North Korea, the leader's residence is not public knowledge. "Look forward to our Summit", Trump wrote on Twitter in response to Saturday's news.

The party said it "will concentrate all efforts on building a powerful socialist economy and markedly improving the standard of people's living through the mobilization of all human and material resources of the country".

The move came after more than a year of heightened tensions sparked by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile aspirations. Kim and Trump exchanged bellicose rhetoric and personal insults, raising fear that Washington could carry out a military operation on the North. The communist country also plans to close down its nuclear test site, according to media reports.

"It was a well-calculated announcement. The North is expressing a will for a complete denuclearization".

Moon has said that Kim is willing to discuss denuclearization. "But they're not going to give up their nuclear weapons without reciprocal steps from the USA and others". At least publicly, this does not meet the conditions President Trump has set forth for the U.S.

Earlier this week, Trump said he'd give his "blessing" for peace treaty - and said the upcoming talks were "a great chance to solve a world problem".

Meanwhile, North Korea decided on a personnel reshuffle at the party meeting.

A North Korea source, talking to CNN, said that Kim has finally chose to open a new chapter for his nation. He attended the latest high-level inter-Korean talks as the chief delegate.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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