North Korea takes first step towards denuclearization

By Megan Mayernik
Staff Writer

North Korea announced important changes to its foreign policy and nuclear defense programs on April 21, when Kim Jong-un declared that he will end nuclear and missile testing, according to Foreign Policy.

Kim vows to cease its nuclear testing. (AP Photo)
Kim vows to cease its nuclear testing. (AP Photo)

The country’s decision to suspend nuclear tests and missile launches came at a plenary meeting of the Central Committee on April 20, according to The Guardian.

President Donald Trump considered North Korea’s new commitment to denuclearization an easy victory for the U.S.

“Wow, we haven’t given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!” Trump tweeted.

Kim hinted that while programs are being suspended, he does not intend to give up his nuclear arsenal any time soon, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Kim also announced the country’s pause in testing nuclear weapons. Kim referred to his nuclear program as a “powerful treasured sword” in the notes of the third plenary meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, according to KCNA Watch.

It is still uncertain whether or not the North Korean leader will stick to his word on this decision, as some analysts greeted this announcement with caution since Kim has violated previous nuclear deals, according to The Guardian.

Analysts also point out that Kim’s announcement did not mention North Korea’s “shorter-range ballistic missiles, capable of striking Japan and South Korea,” according to The Guardian.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, said that the move was part of a long process that must eventually lead to the country’s “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” according to The Guardian.

Kim stated that halting the country’s nuclear testing “is an important process for the worldwide disarmament” and pledged that North Korea would refuse to share its nuclear knowledge with other countries under any circumstances. He also made sure to note that “North Korea wouldn’t use its nuclear weapons unless provoked,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

In the early stages of talk about North Korea’s denuclearization, Kim originally demanded an end to the U.S. military presence on the Korean Peninsula in exchange for his country’s denuclearization, according to The Wall Street Journal.

North Korea later dropped this demand before Kim met with Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discuss denuclearization, according to CNN.