North Korea suspends nuclear, missile tests

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Seoul, April 21 (IANS) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has announced the immediate suspension of nuclear and missile tests, media reports said on Saturday.

“From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” Efe quoted Kim as saying.

North Korea will also “shut down a nuclear test site in the country’s northern side to guarantee transparency in suspending nuclear tests,” the report added.

Having established a nuclear deterrent, North Korea can now turn to overhauling its economy, Kim said.

Pyongyang’s move comes ahead of Kim’s April 27 summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries.

The last in-person talks between the leaders of North and South Korea took place 11 years ago.

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What will be the first-ever encounter between the leaders of North Korea and the US is expected to happen in late May or early June.

US President Donald Trump, who accepted Kim’s proposal for a meeting after months that saw the two men trade insults and threats, hailed the announcement from Pyongyang.

“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

–IANS

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