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Trump: North Korea's Suspension Of Nuclear Tests Shows 'Progress'

President Trump tweeted of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's announcement: "Progress being made for all!" File footage of the leaders is broadcast at Seoul Railway Station in South Korea on Saturday.
Ahn Young-joon

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has announced that his country no longer needs nuclear or missile tests and that it would shut down its nuclear weapons test site.

"The nuclear test site has done its job," Kim said in a statement carried by North Korea's state media. The report also said the decision was made in a bid to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

President Trump tweeted Friday night about the announcement from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and said it was a sign of "Progress being made for all!" His tweet said: "A message from Kim Jong Un: 'North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.' "

NPR's Elise Hu reports for our Newscast unit that North Korea's announcement comes ahead of a major summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

"The two Korean leaders are set to meet at their shared border next Friday after months of furious diplomacy, signs of goodwill and re-establishing ties. Now Kim is making a show of announcing a suspension of testing, even though North Korea already stopped testing its weapons months ago. Pyongyang watchers say they'll believe North Korea is denuclearizing when they actually see it.

"Robert Kelly, a professor at South Korea's Pusan National University who blogs about regional security, told Elise:

" 'We're gonna have to see things actually being sawed in half or cut in half or detonated before people are gonna actually believe it. I mean, North Korea has a real credibility problem going back several decades.'

"In the announcement of a test freeze, Kim did not mention dismantling his nuclear weapons or long-range missiles."

South Korea's presidential office welcomed North Korea's announcement as "meaningful progress" toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The Associated Press reports:

"China's foreign ministry also reacted to the move by North Korea to halt nuclear and missile tests. A statement on its website read, 'China welcomes this.'

"Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed caution to North Korea's announcement. While a positive development, he adds, 'What is crucial here, however, is how this development is going to lead to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear arms, weapons of mass destruction and missiles.' "

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Doreen McCallister
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
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