EU, Britain welcome North Korean move on nuclear tests, urge denuclearisation

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini calls the North Korean move "a positive, long sought-after step".
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini calls the North Korean move "a positive, long sought-after step".PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - The European Union's foreign affairs chief said on Saturday (April 21) that North Korea's announcement to stop nuclear tests was a positive step and called for an "irreversible denuclearisation" of the Asian country.

North Korean state media said earlier on Saturday the country would immediately suspend nuclear and missile tests and scrap its nuclear test site.

The North Korean move “is a positive, long sought-after step on the path that has now to lead to the country’s complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation,” Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

North Korean state media quoted the leader Kim Jong Un as saying that the country no longer needed to conduct nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it had completed its goal of developing nuclear weapons.

The announcement was made before Kim Jong Un’s planned summits with South Korean President Moon Jae In next week and with US President Donald Trump in late May or early June.

Mogherini said the two forthcoming summits were opportunities “to build confidence and bring about additional, concrete and positive outcomes.”

She offered EU support to the talks “in any way possible, including through sharing our own experience of negotiations for denuclearisation.”

Mogherini said the EU position on North Korea remained at this stage unchanged, combining sanctions with open communication channels.

Separately, Britain also said on Saturday that North Korea’s plan to cease nuclear tests would be a positive step and that it hoped this was a sign of good faith.

“A long term commitment from Kim Jong Un to halt all nuclear tests and ICBM launches would be a positive step. We hope this indicates an effort to negotiate in good faith,” the British government said in a statement.

“We remain committed to working with our international partners to bring about our goal of a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and to do so through peaceful means.”