Korea's decision to stop nuclear tests

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country no longer needed to conduct nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it had completed its goal of developing the weapons.

North and South Korea installed the first telephone hotline between their leaders on Friday as they prepared for a rare summit next week aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.

"A senior USA diplomat for East Asia, Susan Thornton, called North Korea's latest announcement 'a very positive step" as she started a three-day visit to Seoul on Sunday, which will include meetings with South Korea's foreign minister as well as its top nuclear negotiator.

Trump's tweets came on the heels of Todd questioning the preconditions behind Trump's planned summit with Kim in several weeks.

According to him, it will contribute to building trust between the North Korea and its southern neighbour, South Korea, as well as other countries in the region.

Tacitly, North Korea would be unofficially recognized as a nuclear power, fulfilling Kim's dream, albeit short of becoming a full-fledged member of the so-called nuclear club under terms of the 1970 global nonproliferation treaty.

"I don't think for one minute that Kim has in mind that he's going to destroy his nuclear weapons". In fact, whether North Korea would be willing to forfeit its nuclear arsenal remains perhaps the most important issue.

Cheong Seong-chang, senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute think-tank, said a firm commitment to denuclearise could not be expected before negotiations with the United States began.

Under the "Agreed Framework", North Korea halted construction of two reactors the United States believed were for nuclear weapons production in return for two alternative nuclear power reactors that could be used to provide electricity but not bomb fuel, and 5,00,000 metric tons of fuel oil annually for the North.

Even when there was an extended pause in testing, USA officials said that it could not be interpreted as a halt without an explicit statement from Pyongyang.

Negotiations included a secret trip to North Korea by Central Intelligence Agency director - and secretary of State nominee - Mike Pompeo to meet with the reclusive Kim.

Such details are likely to include deciding the exact time for the leaders' encounter, by what means Kim will travel to the southern side of the truce village and whether they will hold a joint press conference.

North Korea has said its nuclear and missile programs are necessary deterrents against USA hostility.

In 2013, Mr. Kim announced that his government would pursue a national "byungjin" policy aimed at simultaneously seeking nuclear development and economic growth. It was reported by the North's state-run media early Saturday.

He sent a delegation to the Winter Olympics in the South in February, leading to a thaw in relations with his old enemies. Indeed, talking to Kim might be necessary in order to maintain a good relationship with South Korea. Past year it carried out its sixth nuclear blast, by far its most powerful to date, while Kim and Trump traded threats of war and personal insults as tensions ramped up.

"This was a smart move by Kim", Vipin Narang, an associate political science professor and nuclear proliferation expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an email.

  • Leroy Wright