North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has announced that the country will suspend nuclear and missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site in the northern area, state media said Saturday.
"From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles," the Korean Central News Agency said.
"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test," it added.
|North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seen speaking to party officials in a file photo from April 9. Yonhap|
The decision was made at a plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea (WPK) Friday, according to the KCNA.
The announcement comes just a week ahead of Kim’s summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27, which will be followed by a meeting with US President Donald Trump. The latter meeting is set to be held by early June.
The North’s latest announcement adds some credibility, at least on the surface, to the South Korean leader and his top security aides’ repeated claims that Kim appears sincere in wishing to discuss the terms of denuclearization with Seoul and the US.
According to Seoul’s National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong, recently reiterated that the North’s actions since January show positive changes that contributed to the easing of tensions on the peninsula.
Speaking to reporters in Seoul last week, Chung said that the absence of military provocations since November, and Kim’s repeated statements regarding denuclearization hint at a change in North Korea.
Chung also said that the North appears to have a “more realistic view” of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, citing Kim’s “effective tolerance” of joint South Korea-US military drills.
By Choi He-suk and news reports (firstname.lastname@example.org)