North Korea Says to Dismantle Nuclear Site, Stop Weapons Tests

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The official said the North may have made the announcement as part of a bargain, ahead of its summits with South Korea and the US.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said the suspension of nuclear and ICBM tests went into effect Saturday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declared he will suspend nuclear and missile tests starting Saturday, and that he will shut down the site where the previous six nuclear tests were conducted.

The announcement was immediately welcomed by USA president Donald Trump in what was seen as a dramatic development ahead of his much-anticipated meeting with Kim.

It came a day after the South's president, Moon Jae-in, said that Pyongyang had expressed a desire for the "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula without attaching preconditions such as the withdrawal of United States troops.

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Lee Ki-dong, vice president of South Korea's Institute of National Security Strategy, said Kim might announce a change to the Byungjin Nosun policy considering the main agenda item for his upcoming summits with Moon and Trump was denuclearization of some sort.

The announcement comes as Trump's team is negotiating with Kim's about particulars of a hoped-for summit in the coming months.

North Korea appears to be making a concerted effort to ease world tensions following incredibly high fears of World War 3 past year.

But North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of "denuclearisation" that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its troops from the peninsula.

It remains to be seen what exact conditions will need to be met for the withdrawal of global economic sanctions aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear threat.

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Moon told corporate executives in Seoul, "They have not attached any conditions that the USA can not accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea".

Ripley quoted a North Korean official who had optimistic words about the move: "Finally Kim Jong Un has chose to open up", the source said.

"This is the party's new strategic policy line", KCNA cited him as saying.

The hotline connects Moon's desk at the presidential Blue House with North Korea's state affairs commission, which is headed by Kim, Yonhap news agency said.

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