The Latest: Ally China welcomes N. Korea’s nuke suspension

The Latest: Ally China welcomes N. Korea's nuke suspension
The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on North Korea saying it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close its nuclear test site (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

China, North Korea’s main ally, is welcoming Pyongyang’s decision to suspend its nuclear and missile tests.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang as saying Beijing wishes for North Korea to continue to achieve results in the development of its economy and improving the living standards of its people.

He says China will support North Korea through dialogue and consultations with “relevant parties” to resolve their concerns and improve relations.

Kim Dong-gil, the director of the Korean Peninsula Center at Peking University, says now that North Korea has nuclear weapons, he believes they will use them as a bargaining chip to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War, make arrangements to guarantee North Korea’s safety and ultimately allow North Korea to open up its economy to the rest of the world.

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12:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday night about reassuring signals from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and said it was a sign “Progress being made for all.”

His tweet said: “A message from Kim Jong Un: ‘North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.’ Also will ‘Shut down a nuclear test site in the country’s Northern Side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear tests.'”

Trump, who is at his South Florida resort of Mar a Lago, was referring to North Korea’s announcement Saturday that it will suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of its summits with Seoul and Washington. But the announcement stopped short of suggesting it has any intention of giving up its nuclear weapons or scale back its production of missiles and their related component parts.

The new North Korean policy sets the table for further negotiations when the summits begin.

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11:35 a.m.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reacted with caution to North Korea’s announcement it has suspended nuclear tests and long-range missile launches.

Abe, a hard-liner on the North, said he welcomed the announcement carried by state media early Saturday as a positive development.

He says: “What is crucial here, however, is how this development is going to lead to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear arms, weapons of mass destruction and missiles.”

Abe says Tokyo would maintain its policy coordination with Seoul and Washington.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who made the announcement at a party meeting, is to hold summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next Friday and President Donald Trump in late May or June.

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9:20 a.m.

South Korea’s presidential office has welcomed North Korea’s announcement it’s suspending nuclear and long-range missile tests as “meaningful progress” toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Presidential official Yoon Young-chan said in a statement Saturday the announcement will brighten the prospects for successful talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a border truce village next Friday in a rare summit between the rivals aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang. A separate meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump is anticipated in May or June.

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8:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump appears to be confirming news that North Korea has agreed to suspend nuclear and long-range missile testing.

Trump has tweeted, “This is very good news for North Korea and the World” and “big progress!”

He also says he’s looking forward to his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea said early Saturday it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close its nuclear test site.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency says the country is making the move to shift its national focus and improve its economy.

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7 a.m.

North Korea says it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close its nuclear test site.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the suspension of nuclear and ICBM tests went into effect Saturday.

The country says it’s making the move to shift its national focus and improve its economy.

The announcements came days before North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a border truce village for a rare summit aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.

The North’s decisions were made in a meeting of the ruling party’s full Central Committee which had convened to discuss a “new stage” of policies.

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