Kim promises no more nuclear or missile tests

  • Kim promises no more nuclear or missile tests

Kim promises no more nuclear or missile tests

Kim's move comes just a week ahead of a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, and a month before he is expected to hold an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump.

Prior to Kim's announcement, South Korean president Moon Jae-in noted on Thursday that, besides North Korean willingness for "complete denuclearization", Pyongyang is also willing to negotiate with the U.S. under favorable conditions and will most likely not demand the withdrawal of U.S. forces stationed in South Korea. "Look forward to our Summit".

Nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles to stop from April 21, Yonhap news agency reports.

When North Korea tested a rocket in November thought by Western officials to have been an intercontinental ballistic missile, an expert told NBC News, "A viable ICBM capable of reaching the West Coast of the USA mainland is still a year away, though North Korea continues to progress".

He added that the country would close its nuclear testing facility at Punggye-ri, though that site was already believed to have been rendered largely unusable due to tunnel collapses after the North's test of what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb past year.

It has said over the years that it could consider giving up its nuclear arsenal if the United States removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan. "It will create a very positive environment for the success of the upcoming inter-Korean and North-US summits", said a statement.

Takeshi Yamakawa, a survivor of the 1945 bombing who leads an anti-nuclear civic group in Nagasaki, said Pyongyang's announcement of its decision to halt nuclear tests "is not so convincing".

South Korea's presidential office welcomed the announcement as "meaningful progress" towards denuclearisation.

Kim Dong-gil, the director of the Korean Peninsula Center at Peking University, says now that North Korea has nuclear weapons, he believes they will use them as a bargaining chip to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War, make arrangements to guarantee North Korea's safety and ultimately allow North Korea to open up its economy to the rest of the world.

Trump and Kim traded fiery rhetoric a year ago and in January over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Trump sent out a second tweet about North Korea's announcement Friday night.

Trump, who wants Kim's regime to get rid of its nuclear weapons, hailed the news in a tweet on Friday.

Kim Jong-un declared on television that North Korea was not far from testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Six top South Korean officials will accompany Moon to the summit, including his chief of staff, spy chief, national security adviser and unification, defense and foreign ministers, the spokesman said.

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 North has for decades tied its development of nuclear weapons to what it has labeled a "hostile" USA 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. Kim met last month with China's president and is to meet South Korea's leader April 27.

While South Korean and United States officials have said Kim is likely trying to save his broken economy from heavy sanctions, some analysts see him as entering the negotiations from a position of strength after having declared his nuclear force as complete.

Shigemitsu Tanaka, the head of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council, said, "We don't know if deeds will match words, but it is pleasing to know that tension is easing".

North Korea appears to be making a concerted effort to ease world tensions following incredibly high fears of World War 3 previous year.