North Korea an­nounces it will halt nu­clear, mis­siles tests ahead of his­toric sum­mit with Trump

The Daily News Egypt - - Front Page - By Fatma Lotfi

North Korea an­nounced on Sat­ur­day im­me­di­ately sus­pend­ing nu­clear and mis­sile tests as well as shut­ting down a nu­clear test­ing site in the north of the coun­try, ahead of a his­toric sum­mit with the US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the coun­try’s of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency (KCNA) re­ported.

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in state­ment that his coun­try no longer needs to con­duct nu­clear or in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile (ICBM) tests, pre­fer­ring to shift its na­tional fo­cus on im­prov­ing its econ­omy rather than mil­i­tary, in an ap­par­ent bow to heavy eco­nomic sanc­tions against his coun­try.

“From 21 April, North Korea will stop nu­clear tests and launches of in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles,” KCNA said, quot­ing Kim, who also added, “to guar­an­tee sus­pen­sion of nu­clear tests in a trans­par­ent man­ner, the repub­lic’s north­ern nu­clear test site will be abol­ished.”

Prais­ing the dra­matic de­ci­sion, Trump tweeted, “North Korea has agreed to sus­pend all Nu­clear Tests and close up a ma­jor test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World - big progress! Look for­ward to our Sum­mit.”

Mean­while, South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in wel­comed the de­ci­sion, say­ing it is a “sig­nif­i­cant step to­ward the de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula the world has wished for.”

The gesture came ahead of a his­toric meet­ing be­tween the US and North Korea, ex­pected to be held next May or June. Another sig­nif­i­cant sum­mit is ex­pected to gather the North Korean leader and South Korean pres­i­dent next week in the de­mil­i­tarised zone that di­vides the penin­sula.The sum­mit will be only the third be­tween the coun­tries’ lead­ers since the end of the Korean war in 1953.

South Korea an­nounced on Wed­nes­day it is con­sid­er­ing re­plac­ing a truce that halted that con­flict with a per­ma­nent peace treaty, thus for­mally end­ing the war.

Kim spent the last year con­duct­ing a se­ries of nu­clear and ICBM tests, which raised con­cerns over a pos­si­ble war be­tween his coun­try and the US. In Novem­ber 2017, Py­ongyang an­nounced it has tested its first ICBM that can strike any­where in the US main­land. The coun­tries’ re­la­tions have gone through dif­fer­ent dis­po­si­tions, end­ing in ex­pected talks to tackle the North Korean nu­clear is­sue.

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