Report Says North Korea To Suspend Missile Testing, Close Nuclear Test Site

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and President Trump

South Korea's president said Thursday that North Korea is not imposing conditions on upcoming summits with him and U.S. President Donald Trump.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced he will suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close a nuclear test site.

The decision was made on Friday during a plenary session of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party.

"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test", the official KCNA news agency said, according to Yonhap.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said the country is making the move to shift its national focus and improve its economy.

It's also unclear whether strings might be attached to the freeze of tests or how long this suspension might really last.

Trump warned this week that his summit with Kim could still be called off, saying: "If I think that it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we're not going to go".

South Korean envoys have previously cited Kim as promising no more tests, but Saturday's news is the first such announcement directly by Pyongyang.

Earlier, Kim and Trump have traded threats of war and personal insults as tensions ramped up, and even when there was an extended pause in testing, U.S. officials said that it could not be interpreted as a halt without an explicit statement from Pyongyang.

Trump intends to meet with Kim Jong-Un in May or June.

The U.S. and North Korea are already in direct talks in preparation for a meeting between Trump and Kim - an unprecedented summit. "Look forward to our Summit", Trump said on Twitter. The revival of the hotline at Panmunjom came days after Kim in a New Year's speech proposed negotiations with the South on easing tensions and the North's participation in February's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

North Korea has up to now pointedly ignored global sanctions aimed at stopping its nuclear tests. Moon, a liberal who is committed to engaging the North despite being forced to take a hard line in the face of repeated North Korean weapons tests previous year, is eager to make the summit a success and pave the way for Kim and Trump to settle the deep differences they have over the North's decades-long pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Seoul, which shuttled between Pyongyang and Washington to set up the meetings, says Kim has expressed genuine interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons.

Also Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with his Japanese counterpart, Itsunori Onodera, at the Pentagon for talks that included North Korea.



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