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North Korea vows to halt missile tests and scrap nuclear site from today

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has said his country has halted all missile tests and will shut down its controversial nuclear site as of today.

"From 21 April, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles," the country's state news agency said.

Kim said further tests, which have caused international alarm, were no longer necessary because its nuclear capabilities had been "verified".

US president Donald Trump tweeted that the announcement showed "progress for all".

A message from Kim Jong Un: “North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.”
Also will “Shut down a nuclear test site in the countrys Northern Side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear tests.” Progress being made for all!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018

The surprise announcement is a far cry from the language used by Kim back in January, when he said the nuclear button was "always on my desk".

Since then there have been signs of progress with the US in particular, after Trump agreed in March to meet the North Korean leader.

Kim is also due to meet the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, next week for the first summit between the two sides in over a decade, before meeting Trump in June.

However, the AFP news agency reported that Japan was not satisfied with the pledge and will continue to put "maximum pressure" on North Korea over its nuclear programme.

#UPDATE Japan is not satisfied with North Korea's pledge to halt nuclear tests and intercontinental missile launches, its defence minister says, warning Tokyo will continue to put maximum pressure on Pyongyang

— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 21, 2018

Read more: North Korea agrees to give up weapons – if regime is guaranteed

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