N Korea to suspend missile testing; Trump welcomes move

RSTV Bureau
Seoul: A TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 21, 2018. AP/PTI

Seoul: A TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 21, 2018.
AP/PTI

North Korea said it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close its nuclear test site. The announcement comes ahead of a new round of negotiations between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington.

Earlier, the North Korea expressed confidence about its nuclear force, which its leader Kim Jong Un 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.

“This is very good news for North Korea and the World” and “big progress!” US President Donald Trump tweeted in his response to the development. Trump also said he’s looking forward to his upcoming summit with the North Korean leader.

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

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

The announcements came days before Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in 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.

“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,” Kim was reported to have said, as quoted by the North Korean state media.

(With inputs from Agencies)