North Korea Announces Retreat From Weapons Program

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared the nation will stop nuclear and missile tests in his country. He also said that he will shut down the site where the previous six nuclear tests were conducted as a show of his dedication to the claim. The announcement was made after a meeting of the central committee of the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea.

The announcement made no mention of giving up its program, simply signaling a freeze. There has been considerable skepticism that Kim would give up his country’s nuclear program so readily. In November, the country said it had successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach any place on the continental United States. The test drew swift international condemnation.

The latest announcement comes during a thawing of relations between North and South Korea. On Friday, Kim is scheduled to cross the Military Demarcation Line, becoming the first North Korean leader to do so since the Korean War ended in 1953. He will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the “Peace House” on the southern side of the line and their encounter will be broadcast live. A telephone hotline has already been set up between Kim and Moon.

Kim is also expected to hold a summit with US President Donald Trump by June. The meeting, if it takes place, would be the first meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president.

Both Moon and Trump have recently said that North Korea was willing to “denuclearize.” According to a statement from Moon, Kim is willing to discuss denuclearization at the summit. Moon also mentioned that Kim will not insist on American troops being withdrawn from South Korea as part of any deal. The U.S. military currently has about 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea.