Following the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that it will end its nuclear and missile tests, United Nations chief António Guterres said on Saturday that the “path is open for the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
DPRK's leader Kim Jong-un said earlier in the day - according to news reports - that after conducting a total of six nuclear tests since 2006, further missile tests as part of the country’s nuclear weapons programme, were no longer needed.
In a statement released by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres welcomed the decision, describing it as “a positive step forward” which would contribute to building trust between DPRK and its southern neighbour, the Republic of Korea (ROK), as well as other countries in the region.
In early March, the UN chief welcomed the announcement of an agreement between the United States and DPRK, to hold a formal summit meeting in the coming weeks, following months of rising tension between the two countries over the north’s refusal to stop ballistic tests.
The Secretary-General said in Saturday’s statement that he wished the leaders of the two Koreas “every success in their courageous and important task of resuming sincere dialogue, leading to sustainable peace on the Korean peninsula”.
An inter-Korean summit is due to take place next week, on 27 April.
Mr. Guterres also commended the setting up of a direct telephone link between the two leaders which he hopes will “further build trust and narrow differences in understanding.”
United States President Donald Trump described the north’s decision to suspend tests as “good news” and the ROK’s president, Moon Jae-in’s office issued a statement saying it represented a “significant step” towards denuclearlization.