UK hails North Korea’s nuclear testing suspension as positive step

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The UK has cautiously welcomed the announcement that North Korea is to put a halt to its nuclear testing programme.

In a statement responding to developments overnight, the Foreign Office (FCO) said it hoped Kim Jong Un’s announcement indicated a willingness to negotiate with world leaders.

The US and South Korea, who are due to take part in historic talks with Pyongyang, both approved of the move.

In a statement, the FCO said: “A long term commitment from Kim Jong Un to halt all nuclear tests and ICBM launches would be a positive step. We hope this indicates an effort to negotiate in good faith.

“We remain committed to working with our international partners to bring about our goal of a complete, verifiable and irreversible de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and to do so through peaceful means.”

US president Donald Trump said the move marked “big progress”.

He 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.”

Pyongyang announced that it will suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of its summits with Seoul and Washington.

But it stopped short of suggesting it has any intention of giving up its hard-won nuclear arsenal.

Mr Kim justified the suspension to his party by saying the situation around North Korea has been rapidly changing “in favour of the Korean revolution” since he announced last year that his country had completed its nuclear forces.

Foreign Office Minister Mark Field, writing on Twitter, said he welcomed North Korea’s announcement “that it will halt all nuclear tests and mid/long-range missile and ICBM launches”.

He added: “Hope this is the first step towards a complete, verifiable and irreversible de-nuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”

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