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China welcomes North Korea’s decision to suspend weapons tests

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – China has welcomed North Korea’s recent reported decision to suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile tests as a sign of seriousness in pursuing peace with rival South Korea.

“Denuclearization of the [Korean P]eninsula and lasting peace in the region are in line with the common interests of the people of the peninsula,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement on Saturday.

“The Chinese side believes that North Korea’s decision will help ameliorate the situation on the peninsula,” he added. “China welcomes this.”

The statement was released after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly said earlier in the day that Pyongyang would suspend the country’s nuclear and missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country’s northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test,” Kim was quoted by the media as saying.

He made no mention of what he would do with his arsenal of existing nuclear warheads.

In late March, the North Korean leader made a landmark visit to China to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and discuss ongoing developments on the Korean Peninsula. It was Kim’s first foreign trip since rising to power in 2011.

China remains the North’s main ally and trade partner, though their relations briefly cooled when Beijing began enforcing United Nations Security Council sanctions aimed at containing Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea says its weapons are defensive in nature and a necessary deterrent against potential hostility by the United States and its regional allies, including South Korea.

But the two Koreas suddenly began mending fences in January, when Kim said he would be interested in talks being held between officials between the two countries. A series of overtures ensued, and the North Korean leader now is set to hold separate summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and possibly with US President Donald Trump.

There has been no official confirmation from Pyongyang about the meeting with Trump, who has almost solely been talking about the presumed meeting.

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