North Korea will join international efforts to implement a ban on nuclear weapon testing, the country’s ambassador to the UN said on Tuesday in Geneva.
The DPRK’s UN Ambassador Han Tae Song made the remarks during a conference on disarmament, and the comments come with North Korea set to close its nuclear testing facility at Punggye-ri.
“DPRK will join international desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests,” Han said.
But despite the commitment, North Korea is not a member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as it withdrew in 2003.
North Korea is also the only country to test nuclear weapons since 1998, with their most recent nuclear test coming on September 3 last year, the country’s third detonation since the beginning of 2016.
“This remark is significant as a further indication that the DPRK really does have no intention to test again,” a North Korea expert with diplomatic experience who wished to remain anonymous told NK News.
“But of course this sudden change in the DPRK’s position, just months after they have conducted a test, will bring accusations of hypocrisy from some quarters. I wonder what the Iranians, for example, will make of it.”
During his speech at the disarmament conference, the North Korean ambassador to the UN also said North Korea was hoping to further diffuse military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
“(North Korea will make) efforts to achieve the development of intra-Korean relations, defuse acute military tensions and substantially remove the danger of the war on the Korean peninsula,” DPRK diplomat Han said.
The North Korean official’s remarks are the latest example of a softer tone from Pyongyang, coming on the heels of a what a high ranking defector recently called a “charm offensive.”
But the remarks could also be an indicator of how North Korea views denuclearization, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un saying on April 21 that a testing moratorium will help foster global disarmament.
“The discontinuance of the nuclear test is an important process for the worldwide disarmament, and the DPRK will join the international desire and efforts for the total halt to the nuclear test,” the North’s Korean Central News Agency wrote last month.
Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump are set to sit down and discuss North Korea’s denuclearization on June 12 in Singapore, Trump revealed last week.
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Featured Image: United Nations Office at Geneva by Falcon_33 on 2015-03-07 16:02:20