EU welcomes North Korean move on nuclear tests, urges denuclearisation

A South Korean watches a TV screen broadcasting news on North Korea's announcement on missile and nuclear testing at a station in Seoul, South Korea, 21 April 2018. [EPA-EFE/JEON HEON-KYUN]

The European Union’s foreign affairs chief said on Saturday (21 April) that North Korea’s announcement to stop nuclear tests was a positive step and called for an “irreversible denuclearisation” of the Asian country.

North Korean state media said earlier on Saturday the country would immediately suspend nuclear and missile tests and scrap its nuclear test site.

The North Korean move “is a positive, long sought-after step on the path that has now to lead to the country’s complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation,” Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

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North Korean state media quoted the leader Kim Jong Un as saying that the country no longer needed to conduct nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it had completed its goal of developing nuclear weapons.

The announcement was made before Kim Jong Un’s planned summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week and with US President Donald Trump in late May or early June.

Mogherini said the two forthcoming summits were opportunities “to build confidence and bring about additional, concrete and positive outcomes.”

She offered EU support to the talks “in any way possible, including through sharing our own experience of negotiations for denuclearisation.”

Mogherini said the EU position on North Korea remained at this stage unchanged, combining sanctions with open communication channels.

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