U.S. President Donald Trump has shown excitement at the decision of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to suspend all nuclear and missile tests.
Mr Trump tweeted shortly after the announcement from Pyongyang that Kim has declared that he would suspend nuclear and missile tests starting from Saturday and that he would shut down the site where the previous six nuclear tests were conducted.
Mr Trump tweeted: “North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site.
“This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit.”
North Korea’s KCNA reported that Mr Kim said the regime no longer needs nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile tests.
“Under the proven condition of complete nuclear weapons, we no longer need any nuclear tests, mid-range and intercontinental ballistic rocket tests, and that the nuclear test site in northern area has also completed its mission,” KCNA quoted Mr Kim as saying.
The surprising announcement came just six days before Mr Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in, preparatory to a historic summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump.
Mr Trump is set to meet Mr Kim at the end of May or beginning of June. However, a location has not yet been set.
Next Friday, Mr Kim will cross the Military Demarcation Line that has divided the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953, becoming the first North Korean leader to do so since then.
He would step into “Peace House” on the southern side of the line to meet Moon, with their encounter being broadcast live.
Moon signaled this week that everything was on the table at the meeting.
“North Korea is expressing its intention for complete denuclearisation and it is not making demands that the U.S. cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of the U.S. forces in Korea,” Moon said on Thursday.
The U.S. military has 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea, with back-ups in Japan and on Guam – the legacy of the standoff that has ensued since the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953.