“From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs),” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted North Korean state media as saying.
“The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country’s northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test.”
The decision was made in a meeting of the ruling party’s full Central Committee, which had convened to discuss a “new stage” of policies.
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
Mr Kim told the committee: “As the weaponisation of nuclear weapons has been verified, it is not necessary for us to conduct any more nuclear tests or test launches of mid- and long-range missiles or ICBMs.
“The northern nuclear test site has completed its mission.”
The move comes less than a week before Mr Kim is due to meet South Korean leader Moon Jae-in for a rare summit, and ahead of a much-anticipated meeting with US President Donald Trump.
President Trump welcomed the North’s announcement, calling it “big progress”.
He 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.”
Japan’s defence minister Itsunori Onodora said the news did not mean it was time to ease pressure on North Korea.
Pyongyang has made rapid technological progress in its weapons programmes under Mr Kim, which has seen it subjected to strict sanctions by the UN Security Council, US, EU, South Korea and other countries.
Last year, North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test, by far its most powerful to date, and launched missiles capable of reaching the US.
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But on Friday, the KCNA said: “The overall projects of the party and the country will be geared towards building of a socialist economy, and all our efforts will be made towards it.”
More to follow…