North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Vows To Close Nuclear Testing Site In Front Of The World
The US has warned North Korea it must take “irreversible” steps to denuclearize
What you need to know
- Kim has vowed to close down a North Korean nuclear testing site in May
- He said the dismantling would be “open to the international community”
- The comments were made during a historic leadership summit between the two Korean leaders, according to Seoul officials
- The North Korean leader is due to meet US President Donald Trump in the coming weeks
North Korea will invite US and South Korean experts and journalists to the country in May to witness the dismantling of its nuclear test site, Seoul officials have reported Kim Jong-un as saying.
The comments were reportedly made during a historic summit between the North Korean leader and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday, in which both leaders vowed to the “complete denuclearization” of the region.
Kim reportedly denied rumours his country would only shut down an unstable testing site, and said two bigger tunnels that were in “very good condition” would be dismantled – an announcement Moon immediately welcomed, according to a South Korean spokesman.
Kim also reportedly used the meeting to comment on North Korea-US relations, saying America is “inherently hostile” towards his country, but said he sees the relationship improving with continued dialogue.
“The [US], will get to know once our talk begins that I am not the kind of person who will use nuclear weapons against the South or the United States across the Pacific,” Kim was quoted as saying.
“There is no reason for us to possess nuclear weapons while suffering difficulties if mutual trust with the United States is built through frequent meetings from now on, and an end to the war and non-aggression are promised.”
US Sees 'Real opportunity' for North Korea Deal
Following the comments, newly sworn-in US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Kim would have to agree to take “irreversible” steps to denuclearize in any deal made with President Donald Trump.
“We use the word ‘irreversible’ with great intention,” Pompeo told ABC News.
"We are going to require those steps that demonstrate that denuclearization is going to be achieved.”
It comes as Trump told a campaign rally his own unprecedented meeting with Kim would likely be happening within the next “three to four weeks.”
"It's going be a very important meeting, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Trump said.
“But we'll see how it goes. And again, whatever happens. happens. Look, I may go in and it may not work out, I leave.”
Last week Kim made history when he stepped over the heavily fortified border that divides North and South Korea, in a carefully orchestrated first meeting between the two leaders.
In an unprecedented moment, Kim grabbed Moon’s hand and the two stepped over the demarcation line again, crossing over to North Korea.
It was the first time a North Korean leader had visited the South since the Korean War in 1953, and the two leaders heralded the historic meeting as the beginning of the end to the war on the peninsula.
"There will not be any more war on the Korean peninsula," Moon told reporters after the pair signed the Panmujom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula.
Kim, who added that the Koreas would be "reunited as one country" also signed a guest book during his visit, writing, “a new history begins now.”
No details have yet been released on when the US and South Korean representatives will be invited to North Korea to witness the site shut down, but Seoul officials say they will be coordinating with North Korea.