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Published: 2018-04-21 10:10:35 | Updated: 2018-04-21 10:10:35

North Korea 'halts missile and nuclear tests'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he will suspend all missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site with immediate effect. "From 21 April, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles," the Korean Central News Agency said. The decision is aimed at pursuing economic growth and peace on the Korean peninsular, state media report. Mr Kim is due to meet his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in next week. He is also expected to hold an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump by June. If it takes place, it will be the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. "This is very good news for North Korea and the World - big progress!," Mr Trump tweeted after Kim Jong-un's announcement. The declaration came in six dramatic bullet points on North Korea's state run news agency, and it is a significant statement. Mr Kim says it is not necessary to conduct any more missile tests because nuclear weaponisation has been achieved. This echoes his previous statement during a New Year address that the state is satisfied it is a nuclear power. After six nuclear tests North Korea may feel it does not need to upgrade its existing designs. This is not denuclearisation as demanded by the international community. Although North Korea has said it will abolish its atomic test site, it is not promising to get rid of its weapons. Pyongyang has also broken these kind of pledges before. But this is still an important step ahead of the summits with President Moon and a potential meeting with Mr Trump. North Korea has repeatedly defied international sanctions over its weapons programme. In November, it said it had successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the whole of the continental United States. The latest announcement from Pyongyang comes during a thawing of relations between North and South Korea. A telephone hotline has been set up between Mr Kim and Mr Moon ahead of the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade. "It was as if we were talking to a neighbour right next door," a South Korean official told local media after a successful test call that lasted 4 minutes 17 seconds. The agreement to set up the phone link was made last month when Mr Moon's top security adviser travelled to Pyongyang for a meeting with Mr Kim, who then agreed to hold the inter-Korean summit. The two states remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, with neither side able to claim an outright victory. [i]Agencies[/i]

North Korea 'halts missile and nuclear tests'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he will suspend all missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site with immediate effect. "From 21 April, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles," the Korean Central News Agency said. The decision is aimed at pursuing economic growth and peace on the Korean peninsular, state media report. Mr Kim is due to meet his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in next week. He is also expected to hold an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump by June. If it takes place, it will be the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. "This is very good news for North Korea and the World - big progress!," Mr Trump tweeted after Kim Jong-un's announcement. The declaration came in six dramatic bullet points on North Korea's state run news agency, and it is a significant statement. Mr Kim says it is not necessary to conduct any more missile tests because nuclear weaponisation has been achieved. This echoes his previous statement during a New Year address that the state is satisfied it is a nuclear power. After six nuclear tests North Korea may feel it does not need to upgrade its existing designs. This is not denuclearisation as demanded by the international community. Although North Korea has said it will abolish its atomic test site, it is not promising to get rid of its weapons. Pyongyang has also broken these kind of pledges before. But this is still an important step ahead of the summits with President Moon and a potential meeting with Mr Trump. North Korea has repeatedly defied international sanctions over its weapons programme. In November, it said it had successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the whole of the continental United States. The latest announcement from Pyongyang comes during a thawing of relations between North and South Korea. A telephone hotline has been set up between Mr Kim and Mr Moon ahead of the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade. "It was as if we were talking to a neighbour right next door," a South Korean official told local media after a successful test call that lasted 4 minutes 17 seconds. The agreement to set up the phone link was made last month when Mr Moon's top security adviser travelled to Pyongyang for a meeting with Mr Kim, who then agreed to hold the inter-Korean summit. The two states remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, with neither side able to claim an outright victory. [i]Agencies[/i]
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