North Korea will suspend nuclear and missile tests

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North Korea will suspend nuclear and missile tests effective immediately and abolish a nuclear test site in the northern part of the country in a bid to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean peninsula, state media said.

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said in a statement his country no longer needs to conduct nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it has completed weaponizing nuclear arms, said the Korean Central News Agency.

It comes just one week before a meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and before a planned historic encounter between Kim and US President Donald Trump — and just weeks after the North Korean leader met Chinese President Xi Jinping on his first trip outside his country.

The US and South Korea welcomed the news, which they said was a sign of progress and a promising start to upcoming talks.

“North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site,” Trump tweeted. “This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit.”

Earlier: In the era of tweets, the direct telephone line between North and South Korea signals a reduction in tensions on the Korean peninsula ahead of next week’s face-to-face summit, the first since 2007, between the leaders of North and South Korea

The direct phone line was installed and tested between South Korea’s Blue House and North Korea’s State Affairs Commission on Friday.

“The call quality was very good and we felt like we got a call from our next-door neighbor,” South Korea’s director for the Government Situation Room, Youn Kun-young, told reporters after the four-minute call.

 The hotline also reportedly features a screen for video chats as well as a fax system.
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