BREAKING NEWS — North Korea announced Friday that it will be suspending missile testing and closing a nuclear test site, according to several reports.
“From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the Korean Central News Agency said, according to Yonhap News. “The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country’s northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test.”
“North Korea’s nuclear test center will be discarded in order to ensure the transparency of the nuclear test suspension,” KCNA added.
Announcing the country’s new course, the ruling party has declared that North Korea “will never use nuclear weapons, unless there is nuclear threat or nuclear provocation to our country, and in no case we will proliferate nuclear weapons and nuclear technology.”
The announcement comes amid a planned meeting set later this year between President Trump and the North Korean dictator.
“BREAKING: North Korea will halt nuclear and ICBM tests and dismantle its testing site.”
— Bloomberg (@business) April 20, 2018
“North Korea has achieved its goal of developing nuclear weapons and does not plan to conduct further nuclear or ICBM tests, state-run media reports.”
— Bloomberg (@business) April 20, 2018
“We will not repeat the mistakes of previous administrations [and] our campaign of maximum pressure will continue until North Korea denuclearizes,” Trump said.
Trump tweeted on the North Korean announcement, “North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site.”
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
“This is a very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit,” he continued.
It was also revealed that over Easter weekend, CIA Director and current Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo met with Kim to lay the groundwork for the prospective meeting with Trump, which could occur by early June, the president said.
However, Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he would walk away from talks with Kim if he thought they were “not going to be fruitful.”
“I hope to have a very successful meeting, Trump said during a joint news conference alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “If we don’t think it’s going to be successful, we won’t have it. If I think it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go. If the meeting when I’m there is not fruitful, I will respsectfully leave the meeting.”
Right Wing Tribune reported yesterday that North and South Korea are reportedly discussing plans to formally end the 65-year-old military conflict between the two countries.
Citing an unidentified senior government official with knowledge of diplomacy and security issues, the easing of military tensions and the end of the military confrontation is a high priority on the agenda of the summit scheduled for April 27 between the two leaders, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Newsweek reports that officials of the two countries are busy arranging the summit, according to South Korean news reports. Further meetings between representatives of the two Koreas are planned for this week to finalize the summit’s details, such as security protocols and media coverage, while a direct hotline between the countries’ leaders is expected to be established by Friday, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday.
The two leaders would meet for the first time in the Peace House, a building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom where the warring factions signed an armistice in 1953, three years after the Korean War began. It would mark the first time a North Korean leader set foot on South Korean soil.
The armistice was never followed by a peace treaty. The two countries technically remained at war, establishing the 160-mile-long Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to function as a heavily guarded border area separating the two countries. Any talks on formally ceasing hostilities would involve discussing changes to the DMZ.
CNBC reports that Pyongyang and Seoul have technically been at war since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended with a truce — and not a peace treaty. Geopolitical tensions have occasionally flared up since the armistice, although to date both countries have managed to avoid another devastating conflict.
A successful summit between the Koreas later this month could help pave the way for a meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump. The U.S. president and North Korean leader are poised to hold talks in late May or June, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).