North Korea says it will suspend missile tests and eliminate nuclear test site
North Korea will suspend nuclear and missile tests immediately and eliminate its nuclear test site to eradicate the country’s economic crisis and to help foster peace, state media said, ahead of planned summits between the United States and South Korea.
“The nuclear test site has done its job,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stated. He added that his country no longer needed to conduct nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests (IBMT) as it has accomplished its goal of developing weapons.
The statement still falls short of the complete denuclearization that Washington has demanded, though the US president exulted about a piecemeal forfeit, tweeting “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.”
Some analysts believe Kim is entering the negotiations only to heal his country’s broken economy and is unlikely to cut off his known ordnance depots. But, it could be a significant initiative to wheedle the US president to a proposed bilateral summit in late May or June.
Mr. Kim hasn’t rendered a full commitment, which Washington desires. However, he is working to persuade the US president to not bail out from the summit.
Regional experts and diplomats contrasted this move with India’s then prime minister Vajpayee’s ruse where he too had announced suspension of all nuclear tests after determining from scientists that the country had confirmed the capabilities of a sufficient and viable nuclear deterrent system through physical tests.
“We no longer need any nuclear test or test launches of intermediate and intercontinental range ballistic missiles, and because of this the northern nuclear test site has finished its mission,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted Kim as saying.
However, Mr. Kim’s sudden move aroused huge speculations in Washington, especially after he had called Trump a “dotard.” Answers too ranged from Korea’s economic breakdown to Kim’s failure to forge a stable reign.