On Friday, Kim Jong Un’s state media announced that nuclear and missile tests in the nation would be halted. Additionally, a nuclear test facility located in the northern region of the nation would also be shuttered. The announcement comes just days before Kim is scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The announcement, made through the North’s Korean Central News Agency, said that the country “will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles” and that “the North will [also] shut down a nuclear test site in the country’s northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test.”
It is not clear whether Kim is abandoning the program entirely or simply suspending testing activities.
The North and South Korean leaders are expected to meet in Panmunjom, a border village located in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that exists between the two rival nations, according to a report by The Hill.
A telephone hotline was also created giving Moon and Kim a channel that allows them to communicate ahead of the summit. The leaders were able to complete a successful test call according to officials.
Kim’s decision to suspend nuclear and missile tests, with the suspension officially beginning on Saturday local time, also comes before the highly anticipated meeting between himself and President Donald Trump.
Once it takes place, it will be the first such meeting between a leader of North Korea and a sitting US president. The encounter is expected to take place at some point during the end of May or the beginning of June.
As the meeting between Kim and Trump was being planned, North Korea had originally agreed to put a freeze on its missile and nuclear tests.
Trump responded to the news of Kim’s decision on Twitter, saying, “North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test sit. This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our summit.”
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Mike Pompeo, the CIA Director and Trump’s current pick for Secretary of State, had traveled to North Korea for a secret meeting with Kim over Easter weekend.