News World North Korea to dismantle nuclear facilities

North Korea to dismantle nuclear facilities

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un greet crowds on Tuesday in Pyongyang. Photo: Pyeongyang Press Corps/Getty
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North Korea has agreed to allow international inspectors to observe a “permanent dismantlement” of its key missile facilities.

It will also take additional steps such as closing its main Yongbyon nuclear complex if the US takes reciprocal measures, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday.

North and South Korea agreed the Korean Peninsula should turn into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats”, Mr Moon said at the conclusion of historic summit talks in Pyongyang with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Speaking at a joint media conference with Mr Moon, Mr Kim said he would visit the South’s capital Seoul “in the near future”. Such a trip would be the first by any North Korean leader.

The joint statement had few details on how the dismantlement would go ahead. But, The New York Times reported, it said the two leaders “shared an understanding” that “practical progress” was needed to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Based on that understanding, the statement said North Korea had agreed to “permanently dismantle” its missile-engine test facility and a missile launchpad in Dongchang-ri, in the country’s north-west, and to allow outside inspectors to watch that process, the NYT said. The Dongchang-ri complex has been a key test centre for the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile program.

korea denuclearisation
Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un head to their meeting at the Workers’ Party of North Korea headquarters. Photo: Getty

The two Koreas have also agreed to seek the rights to co-host the 2032 summer Olympics, according to the joint statement.

Mr Kim and Mr Moon have agreed to co-operate in major sports events such as the 2020 Olympic Games – although the statement did not elaborate on how that would happen.

It said the two leaders had agreed that a Pyongyang art troupe would visit Seoul for performances in October.

The announcements came after the leaders of South and North Korea held one-on-one talks on Wednesday, the second day of their summit, in a bid to deepen bilateral ties.

It is the third time Mr Kim and Mr Moon have met this year. Before Tuesday’s talks began, they paraded through the streets of Pyongyang in Mr Kim’s black Mercedes limousine to cheers from nearly 100,000 North Koreans who waved flowers and chanted “unification, motherland”.

Earlier Mr Kim had said his “historic” Singapore summit with US President Donald Trump in June had improved regional stability and raised hopes for further progress.

Mr Kim had pledged in April to work toward the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula” during his first encounter with Mr Moon in the demilitarised zone. He repeated the pledge at his meeting with Mr Trump.

But discussions about how to implement the vague commitments have since faltered, with Washington demanding concrete action towards denuclearisation by North Korea before agreeing to a key goal of Pyongyang – declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

-with agencies