North halts nuclear, missile tests before inter-Korea talks

North Korea on Saturday halted its nuclear and missile tests ahead of the inter-Korea summit on April 27, state-run KCNA said.

Pyongyang will dismantle the Punggye-ri test site in the north-eastern province to ensure suspension of nuclear tests.  North Korea had been conducting its nuclear tests from this site since 2006. The latest test took place in September last year.

The decision to halt all tests was made at the plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Friday.

In his tweet, Trump welcomed the decision adding that he is looking forward to his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (pictured right) late next month or in early June.

At Friday’s meeting, Kim hinted at a departure from his signature ‘byongjin line’ doctrine of pursuing a nuclear arsenal and economic growth in parallel which was adopted at the party meeting in March 2013.

It is hoped that Kim will focus on boosting the country’s economy, which has been crippled by international sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests.

Kim’s talks with South Korea president Moon Jae-in next Friday are expected to set the roadmap for denuclearisation.

The success of Kim-Trump talks hinges on the outcome of this summit.

If Washington is convinced that the Koreas have made substantial progress in in ensuring a peace regime in the peninsula, Kim and Trump may even begin to discuss normalising North Korea-US ties.

According to KNCA, North Korea will not use its nuclear weapons as long as there are no nuclear threats or provocation against it. It also will not transfer nuclear weapons and technology to other countries.

North Korea is ready for complete denuclearisation without setting any terms like withdrawal of US forces stationed in South Korea.