North Korea will invite foreign experts and media to witness dismantling of nuclear test site, South says

‘There is no reason for us to possess nuclear weapons if mutual trust with the United States is built from now on,’ Kim reportedly tells Moon

Tom Barnes
Sunday 29 April 2018 18:34 BST
Kim Jong-un will shut down North's nuclear test sites says South Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un plans to invite experts and journalists to witness the dismantling of his nation’s nuclear test site, officials in the South have said.

Mr Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in had pledged to work towards the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula at a historic summit on Friday.

The secretive communist state agreed before the meeting to immediately suspend its nuclear and missile tests in pursuit of economic growth and stability on the Korean peninsula.

However, Mr Kim has also promised to keep the destruction of the North’s atomic facilities “open to the international community”, South Korea’s presidential Blue House said.

“The United States, though inherently hostile to North Korea, will get to know once our talk begins that I am not the kind of person who will use nuclear weapons against the South or the United States across the Pacific,” Mr Moon’s press secretary Yoon Young-chan quoted Mr Kim as saying.

“There is no reason for us to possess nuclear weapons while suffering difficulties if mutual trust with the United States is built through frequent meetings from now on, and an end to the war and non-aggression are promised.”

Mr Kim revealed there were two larger tunnels that remain “in a very good condition” at the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, after experts concluded part of the complex had collapsed due to repeated explosions.

Mr Yoon said the North Korean leader’s overtures proved his willingness to respond “preemptively and actively” to expected inspection attempts as part of a denuclearisation process.

Mr Kim reaffirmed that he would not use military force against Seoul and raised the need for an institutional mechanism to prevent unintended escalations, Mr Yoon added.

Pyongyang has also agreed to realign its clocks with the South as a display of unity by scrapping the unique time zone it created in 2015, moving forward 30 minutes to synchronise time on the Korean peninsula.

Donald Trump told Mr Moon in a phone call he was pleased the leaders of the two Koreas reaffirmed the goal of complete denuclearisation during their summit, officials in the South said on Sunday.

Both presidents reportedly agreed on the need for an unprecedented meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Kim to take place swiftly, discussing “two or three” potential locations.

The Blue House would not be drawn on exact venues discussed, but confirmed neither the United States, North Korea, nor the demilitarised zone (DMZ) on the border of the two Koreas were being considered.

A senior US official has said Singapore is being considered as a possible venue for the Trump-Kim meeting.

“Trump said it was good news for not only the two Koreas but the whole world that they affirmed the goal of realising a nuclear-free Korean peninsula through a complete denuclearisation,” Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a separate briefing.

“Moon told Trump that Kim said he and Trump would get along with each other and Trump was looking forward to talks with Kim and there would be a very good result.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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