North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he will lift the suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests that were in place while denuclearisation discussions were on with the United States, BBC reported on Wednesday. He said his country will soon announce the introduction of a “new strategic weapon”.
The North Korean leader said that Pyongyang was no longer tied to the self-declared moratorium as the US continued to carry out joint military drills with South Korea. “There is no ground for us to get unilaterally bound to the commitment any longer, the commitment to which there is no opposite party, and this is chilling our efforts for worldwide nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” state-run news agency KCNA quoted him as saying at a meeting of the Workers Party.
In response to Kim Jong-un’s declaration, US President Donald Trump said: “He did sign a contract, he did sign an agreement talking about denuclearisation,” the president told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, according to The Guardian. “That was done in Singapore, and I think he’s a man of his word, so we’re going to find out.”
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he hoped Kim’s administration will choose peace over war, adding that it was “deeply disappointing” if North Korea had gone back on its commitments to Trump.
US-North Korea dialogue
Kim Jong-un and Trump met for the first time on June 12, 2018, in Singapore, following which the North Korean leader committed to the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula. In response, Trump announced the suspension of Washington’s “very provocative” joint military exercises with South Korea.
The two leaders held a second meeting in Vietnam in February last year but it ended abruptly following a disagreement over sanctions imposed on North Korea. In March, North Korea promised further negotiations on its nuclear weapons with the United States despite both countries failing to reach a deal at the Hanoi summit.
However, tensions escalated in May when Pyongyang fired short-range missiles for the first time since November 2017. This was followed by the testing of more ballistic missiles in July. US-South Korea military exercises also resumed in the aftermath of the May tests.