China's foreign ministry welcomes North Korea nuclear test halt

People watching a file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul, on April 21, 2018.
People watching a file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul, on April 21, 2018.PHOTOS: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's foreign ministry said on Saturday (April 21) it welcomed a move by North Korea to halt nuclear and missile tests, which it said would help ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and promote denuclearisation.

"The Chinese side believes that North Korea's decision will help ameliorate the situation on the peninsula," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on its website.

"China welcomes this."

North Korea's state media said earlier on Saturday the country would immediately halt nuclear and missile tests and abolish a nuclear test site in a bid to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea is set for summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week and with US President Donald Trump in late May or early June.

President Trump has welcomed a statement by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he will suspend nuclear and missile tests immediately and abolish a nuclear test site, and said he looked forward to a summit with Kim.

"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," Trump said in message on Twitter.

 
 
 
 

South Korea's presidential office said North Korea's decision is a "meaningful progress" for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

"It will also contribute to creating a very positive environment for the success of the upcoming South-North summit and North-United States summit," a spokesman for the president's office, Yoon Young Chan, said in a statement on Saturday.

Japan, however, is not satisfied with North Korea's pledge to halt nuclear tests and intercontinental missile launches, its defence minister said on Saturday, warning that Tokyo will continue to put maximum pressure on Pyongyang.

"We can't be satisfied," Mr Itsunori Onodera told reporters in Washington, saying North Korea did not mention "abandonment of short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles".

He added that Japan will not change its policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang for the "ultimate abandonment of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear arms and missiles".