North Korea agrees to shut down missile test sites at key summit

North Korea agrees to shut down missile test sites at key summit

North Korea has agreed to allow worldwide inspectors to observe a "permanent dismantlement" of its key missile facilities, according to South Korea's President Moon Jae-in.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to take additional steps for denuclearization Wednesday, in an apparent gesture to restart its stalled talks with the United States.

Mr Moon also said Mr Kim would try to visit Seoul sometime this year.

Later on Wednesday, Moon's delegation will tour the Mansudae Art Studio, the North's largest producer of art where state artists build statues and produce propaganda at a sprawling complex in Pyongyang.

US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert told a news briefing on Tuesday that Washington hoped the latest North-South summit would bring about "meaningful, verifiable steps towards the denuclearisation of North Korea" and called it a "historic opportunity" for Mr Kim to follow through on commitments he made at his June summit with Mr Trump.

"I don't think President Moon got everything he was seeking from these interactions, but Kim Jong Un gave Moon some tangible things for which he can take credit", said Michael Madden, an analyst at the Stimson Centre's 38 North think tank in Washington. "In the meantime there will be no Rocket or Nuclear testing", Mr Trump said on Twitter.

The North's unique brand of choreographed mass adulation was on full display as hundreds of people waved North Korean flags and another depicting an undivided peninsula - while the South's own emblem was only visible on Moon's Boeing 747 aircraft.

It would be the first such trip by a North Korean leader.

The Koreas also agreed to work toward easing military tensions on the Korean peninsula, increasing communication and cooperation and facilitating more family reunions.

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North Korea has been demanding a declaration formally ending the Korean War, which was stopped in 1953 by a ceasefire, but neither leader mentioned it as they read the joint statement.

"It's not too much to say that it's Moon's efforts that arranged a historic North Korea-U.S. summit".

North Korea has given no indication it is willing to give up its nuclear arsenal unilaterally and is seeking relief from crippling worldwide sanctions.

They also pledged to hold a groundbreaking ceremony this year for railways and roads to connect the two Koreans along their eastern and western coasts.

US officials involved in the latest negotiations have said North Korea has refused to even start discussions about defining denuclearisation.

Also, the countries will reopen their joint industrial park in the North's border town of Kaesong and tourism programs to the North's Mount Kumgang as soon as "conditions are met", the agreement said.

The Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the mouthpiece of the North's ruling party, has given the summit blanket coverage, with dozens of photos of the two leaders embracing on Moon's arrival Tuesday, parading together through the streets of the capital, enjoying a concert, and toasting at a banquet.

The two sides signed a wide-ranging agreement, including plans for Kim to visit Seoul - and announced they'll make a bid to co-host the 2032 Olympics.

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