Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North Korea's Kim suspends nuclear and missile tests as Trump hails decision

North Korea's Kim suspends nuclear and missile tests as Trump hails decision

Donald Trump has, meanwhile, welcomed the news, calling it a big progress and telling his Twitter followers that he is "looking forward" to the upcoming US-North Korea summit, which is being planned sometime after the intra-Korean meeting on April 27.

Kim told Saturday's meeting that "a fresh climate of detente and peace is being created on the Korean Peninsula and the region and dramatic changes are being made in the global political landscape".

South Korea has welcomed North Korea's announcement it will halt nuclear and missile tests and shut down its nuclear test site.

Kim told the meeting that the North's development of nuclear weapons should be seen as a "great victory".

According to the KCNA article, Kim also said that after the completion of the nuclear program previous year "dramatic changes are taking place in the worldwide political landscape".

Onodera said it was not the time to ease worldwide pressure on North Korea, which he said must give up all nuclear weapons.

North Korea has announced it will stop conducting nuclear tests and ICBM launches from this weekend, according to state news agency KCNA.

On September 15, less than a week after the United Nations adopts an eighth series of sanctions, North Korea fires an intermediate-range missile over Japan.

The North has for decades tied its development of nuclear weapons to what it has labeled a "hostile" US policy - a reference to the 28,500 troops on its "doorstep" in South Korea, as well as the roughly 50,000 troops stationed in Japan.

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On November 20, Washington declares North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, a day before adding to pressure on the isolated state with fresh sanctions.

Reading KCNA's announcements on Saturday, there is also absolutely no hint of the "denuclearization" intent that South Korean officials have been eager to tout on North Korea's behalf. Clapper did not, however, meet with Kim, who has only in recent weeks emerged from global seclusion after taking power six years ago and super-charging North Korea's push to become a nuclear power.

North Korea had also carried out flight tests of three intercontinental ballistic missiles.

South Korea and the United States have similarly been a lot more optimistic about deals with North Korea over the past several months, as diplomatic efforts starting around the Winter Olympics have grown.

South Korea's presidential office said North Korea's decision is a "meaningful progress" for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

It emerged this week that Trump's Central Intelligence Agency chief had recently met the reclusive North Korean leader, significantly boosting the odds of the Trump-Kim summit going ahead in late May or early June.

The U.S. -North Korean summit, if it occurs, will be a high-stakes meeting between two volatile leaders.

Abe's trip to Florida came after news of U.S. Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo's surprise meeting with Kim in Pyongyang.

The article added that the decision to suspend the tests was an important part of the process of global nuclear disarmament and that the DPRK will join worldwide efforts to end all nuclear testing.

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