North Korea suspends nuclear, missile tests

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"What President Trump did in the Syrian raid was say: 'Thou shalt not use chemical weapons, '" Chang, a longtime expert on North Korea, told David Asman on Fox Business.

"We no longer need any nuclear test or test launches of intermediate and intercontinental range ballistic missiles and because of this, the northern nuclear test site has finished its mission".

Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster during a tour of North Korea, was released from the regime in a coma. Its latest and most powerful nuclear test was conducted in September, Yonhap news agency reported.

He also said he is looking forward to his upcoming summit with Mr Kim.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed North Korea's announcement Saturday that it would freeze nuclear and missile tests and shut down its main nuclear test site.

It avoids any risk of making him look weak with speculation he was pressurised into make the concession at the summit, which would undermine him at home and overseas.

South Korea's presidential office welcomed North Korea's announcement as "meaningful progress" toward the denuclearization of the peninsula. "The North is expressing a will for a complete denuclearisation", Mr Moon said on Friday (Thursday local time) during a lunch with chief executives of Korean media companies.

"The call quality was very good and we felt like we got a call from our next-door neighbor", South Korea's director for the Government Situation Room, Youn Kun-young, told reporters.

"What is crucial here.is how this development is going to lead to the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear arms, weapons of mass destruction and missiles", he said. "I want to emphasize this".

Kim, a third-generation dictator, is the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, North Korea's supreme decision-making institution that was created in 2016 to replace the National Defense Commission he inherited from his father. It has conducted numerous missile tests with the aim of being able to hit the United States with a nuclear bomb.

For now, Team Trump has to treat it all as Kim's effort to raise expectations so high that Trump feels compelled to take a bad deal when the two leaders sit down in June.

He later improved ties with South Korea and sent a delegation to the Winter Olympics in the South in February.

In a major development, North Korean leadership has made a decision to not undertake any further nuclear tests and the launches of Intercontinental ballistic missiles.

For years, the impoverished North has pursued a "byungjin" policy of "simultaneous development" of both the military and the economy.

Japan, the United States and South Korea believe that Pyongyang possesses 12 or so nuclear weapons and has more than 1,000 ballistic missiles ready to launch.

In North Korea, an apparent power change is under way among top officials amid a peace mood on the peninsula ahead of the inter-Korean summit talks that will be followed by an unprecedented Pyongyang-Washington summit, according to the communist nation's announcement Saturday.

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