"Big Progress" - North Korea To Halt Nuclear, ICBM Tests; Dismantle Test Site; Pursue Peace

Update 3: President Trump has tweeted the "good news," adding that this move was "big progress."

"North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World - big progress! Look forward to our Summit."

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Update 2: North Korean Leader Kim's full statement (via KCNA):

The decision "to include the great victory of the economic construction and nuclear armed forces construction transfer line" includes the following decisions.

  • First, in the course of struggle to carry out the party's translation, we carried out the nuclear test and the underground nuclear test, the miniaturization and the lightening of the nuclear weapon, and the project for the development of the ultra-large nuclear weapon and the transportation means sequentially and faithfully realized the nuclear weaponization. I declare it solemnly.

  • Second, from April 21st, Juche 107 (2018), the nuclear test and the intercontinental ballistic rocket test will be discontinued. North Korea's nuclear test center will be discarded in order to ensure the transparency of the suspension of the nuclear test.

  • Third, the suspension of nuclear testing is an important process for global nuclear disarmament, and the DPRK will join international efforts and efforts to halt the nuclear test altogether.

  • Fourth, we will never use nuclear weapons unless there is nuclear threat or nuclear provocation to our country, and in any case we will not transfer nuclear weapons and nuclear technology.

  • Fifth, we will concentrate all the efforts to build up a strong socialist economy and mobilize the human and material resources of the country to dramatically raise people's lives.

  • Sixth, we will establish a favorable international environment for the construction of a socialist economy, and will intensify close dialogue and dialogue with neighboring countries and the international community in order to protect the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the world.

There is one small caveat before everyone celebrates. As Vipin Narang notes,

"The precise language here is important. Closing the testing site doesn’t preclude atmospheric nuclear tests for example (or other sites). And missile tests could still be conducted under the guise of space launch vehicles. Language matters— for how it can be potentially flanked."

Update 1:  We suspect the odds below just went way down!!!

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As we detailed earlier, just a few short days after President Trump proclaimed "mission accomplished" in Syria, North Korea's leader has followed suit, reportedly say the nuclear test site in the north of the country has completed its mission and will be abandoned.

Furthermore, Yonhap reports Kim says no further nuclear tests are needed, and will stop launching test-flights of ICBMs on April 21st.

As a reminder, the nuclear test facility in the northern part of the country was potentially a major problem as we noted previously the fact that it was collapsing.

And one tunnel reportedly killed 200 when it did collapse.

Additionally, KCNA reports that North Korea says it will actively engage dialogue with the international community to achieve peace and refocus on economic growth.

Seems like that trip to Beijing recently made some serious difference!!

While there are few details, it is hard to misinterpret the Korean headlines.

We are sure President Trump will be quick to congratulate Kim (and himself).

Hard to see how this is not a big win for Trump!

This is going to be a tough pill for Bezos and The Washington Post to swallow... Here's tonight's headline...