SEOUL, South Korea –and intercontinental ballistic missiles from its summits with Seoul and Washington, but does not suggest giving it up to its hard-won nuclear arsenal. The announcement, which sets the table for further negotiations at the beginning of the summit, was made by Kim Jong Un at a meeting of the Central Committee of the North Korean ruling party on Friday. It was reported by the state media of the North on early Saturday. Kim justified the suspension with his party by saying that the situation around North Korea had changed dramatically "in favor of the Korean revolution" since he announced last year that his country had completed its nuclear forces. He said that North Korea has reached a level where it no longer needs underground tests or interstitial missile launch tests, adding that it will close its nuclear test facility in Punggye-ri, which was thought to have become unusable due to tunnel collapses be after the test of the north of his most powerful bomb last year.
The announcement is Kim's starting signal to set the tone for summit talks with President Moon Jae-in and President Trump scheduled for next Friday, which is expected in late May or early June.
Mr. Trump, who is at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, quickly described the development as "progress." He answered almost immediately with a tweet and said, "This is very good news for North Korea and the world." He added that he was looking forward to his summit with Kim.
South Korea's presidential office also welcomed North Korea's announcement as "meaningful progress" toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Presidential official Yoon Young-chan said in a statement that the decision of the North increased the chances of successful talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showed a more cautious reaction.
"What matters here … is how this development will lead to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction and missiles," he said. "And I'll keep an eye on that."
China, North Korea's main ally, welcomed Pyongyang's decision. The official news agency Xinhua quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang as saying Beijing wants North Korea to continue to deliver results in developing its economy and improving the standard of living of its people. He said China will support North Korea through dialogue and consultation with "relevant parties" to resolve their concerns and improve relations.
Kim Dong-gil, director of the Center for the Korean Peninsula at Peking University, says that North Korea now has nuclear weapons. He believes that they will use them as a bargaining chip to officially end the Korean War of 1950-53 to guarantee North Korea's security and finally allow North Korea to open its economy to the rest of the world.
Pyongyang residents, largely unaware of Kim's plans to meet with Trump, met at subway stations. where newspapers are published for the public, or large screens in the city plazas for the reports. One resident, 34-year-old son Kum Chol, said he read the news in the ruling party's newspaper. North Koreans are very cautious when talking to the media, but Son told The Associated Press that the news has made him feel that the "way ahead will be brighter and more prosperous."
Some analysts believe that Kim believes he is entering the summit negotiations from a position of strength and hopes to tacitly recognize that his country is now an atomic power. They believe he wants to hold talks and make some concessions on the margins, which could convince Washington and other countries to ease the sanctions against his struggling economy.
In his speech at the party meeting, Kim praised his nuclear policy as "a wonderful victory" achieved in just five years. A resolution passed after his speech also stressed that the country had successfully achieved its goals of achieving a viable nuclear force and that it intended to retain that power.