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North Korean leader agrees to shut missile site

Pyongyang, Thursday

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has agreed to shut one of the country’s main missile testing and launch sites, says the South’s President Moon Jae-in. After meeting in Pyongyang, the two leaders “agreed on a way to achieve denuclearisation,” said Moon.

The agreement was described by Kim as a “leap forward” towards military peace on the peninsula. Kim also said he hoped to “visit Seoul in the near future”, he would be the first North Korean leader to do so.

The main focus of the summit was the issue of denuclearisation. While the US and North Korea agreed in broad terms earlier this year to work towards that goal, negotiations have stalled.

Pyongyang has now sought to reconfirm its commitment. Moon said Kim had “agreed to permanently close the Tongchang-ri missile engine test site and missile launch facility” and, crucially, that this would be done “in the presence of experts from relevant nations”.

He said Kim had also agreed to shut down the Yongbyon nuclear facility—where North Korea is believed to have produced the material used in its nuclear tests—but only if the US took some reciprocal action. The details of that were not specified.

North Korea blew up its main nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri shortly before Kim’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in June.

The two countries also made advances on inter-Korean ties, announcing plans to link up their railways, allow more reunions for families separated by war and co-operate on health care. -BBC

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