President Moon Jae-in’s spokesman said that Kim Jong-un had stated he “would carry out the closing of the nuclear test site in May”.
Yoon Young-chan added that the North Korean leader had also said he “would soon invite experts of South Korea and the US to disclose the process to the international community with transparency”.
President Moon Jae-in’s office also said North Korea would change its time zone – currently half an hour different – to match that of South Korea.
North Korea has so far made no public comments on the issue.
Situated in mountainous terrain in the north-east, the Punggye-ri site is thought to be North Korea’s main nuclear facility.
The nuclear tests have taken place in a system of tunnels dug below Mount Mantap, near the Punggye-ri site.
Six nuclear tests have been carried out there since 2006.
After the last nuclear test, in September 2017, a series of aftershocks hit the site, which seismologists believe collapsed part of the mountain’s interior.
According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency Kim Jong-un made an apparent reference to these reports, saying: “Some say that we are terminating facilities that are not functioning, but you will see that they are in good condition.”
The information about the Punggye-ri site has been gathered mainly from satellite imagery and tracking the movement of equipment at the location.
Kim Jong-un has become the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
In a moment rich with symbolism and pomp, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un shook hands at the border.
Kim Jong-un said it was the “starting point” for peace, after crossing the military line that divides the peninsula. He also pledged a “new history” in relations with his neighbor.
His visit comes just months after warlike rhetoric from North Korea.
Much of what the summit will focus on has been agreed in advance, but many analysts remain skeptical about North Korea’s apparent enthusiasm for engagement.
Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in were met on April 27 by an honor guard in traditional costume on the South Korean side. The leaders walked to the Peace House in Panmunjom, a military compound in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two countries.
The North Korean leader then invited the South Korean president to step briefly across the demarcation line into North Korea, before the pair stepped back into South Korea – all the while holding hands.
It was an apparently unscripted moment during a highly choreographed sequence of events.
When the first session ended, the pair separated for lunch and Kim Jong-un returned to North Korea in a heavily guarded black limousine.
When he returned in the afternoon, the leaders took part in a ceremony consisting of the planting of a pine tree using soil and water from both countries.
Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in shoveled soil on the roots of the tree and unveiled a stone marker featuring their names, official titles and a message that read: “Planting peace and prosperity.”
The Korean summit will conclude with the leaders signing an agreement and delivering a joint statement before dinner. The banquet will be held on South Korea’s side and the menu is as symbolic as the other rituals.
According to local sources, Kim Jong-un will serve Swiss potato dish rosti – a nod to his time studying in Switzerland – along with North Korea’s signature dish of cold noodles, and North Korean liquor.
Kim Jong-un is accompanied by nine officials, including his powerful and influential sister Kim Yo-jong.
The Korean meeting – the first between Korean leaders in more than a decade – is seen as a step toward possible peace on the peninsula and marks the first summit of its kind for Kim Jong-un.
The summit carries promise for both Koreas with topics being discussed ranging from nuclear technology and sanctions to separated families, and is seen as an opportunity to foster economic co-operation.
Ahead of talks with President Moon at the Peace House in the border village of Panmunjom, Kim Jong-un said: “I feel that [we] have fired a flare at the starting point… the moment of writing a new history vis-à-vis peace, prosperity and North-South relations.”
He also wrote in a guestbook: “A new history begins now.”
The White House has expressed hope that the talks will achieve progress towards peace ahead a proposed meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump in the coming weeks – an unprecedented move.
Talks are likely to focus on reaching an agreement on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, which has advanced significantly since the last summit more than a decade ago.
South Korea has warned that a deal to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons will be “difficult” to achieve.
Kim Jong-un announced last week that he was suspending nuclear tests.
The move was welcomed by the US and South Korea, although Chinese experts have indicated that North Korea’s nuclear test may be unusable after a rock collapse following its last nuclear test.
As well as addressing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in are expected to discuss a formal end to the 1950-1953 Korean War, as well as economic and social issues.
During his visit to South Korea, President Donald Trump has urged North Korea to “come to the table” and discuss giving up its nuclear weapons.
Striking a different tone from previous fiery rhetoric, the president said he “hoped to God” he did not have to use the US military against North Korea.
Donald Trump was speaking at a press conference with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in in Seoul, as part of his tour of Asia.
The president has previously threatened “fire and fury” against North Korea.
Donald Trump is on a five-nation tour of Asia, where Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions have been high on his agenda.
At a press conference, Presidents Trump and Moon reiterated their call for Pyongyang to denuclearize, with Donald Trump saying it “makes sense for North Korea to come to the table”, and to “do the right thing, not only for North Korea but for humanity all over the world”.
The two leaders also called on China and Russia to put pressure on North Korea, and said they were lifting the limit on South Korean missile payloads, which they had agreed to do in September.
President Trump also said that South Korea would be ordering “billions of dollars” in military equipment from the US, which he said would reduce their trade deficit.
It was unclear if a deal was already struck, but Moon Jae-in said they had agreed to “begin consultations on acquisitions” that would enhance South Korea’s defense capabilities.
President Trump had earlier tweeted that “massive military and energy order” from Japan were also happening, and claimed on November 6 that Japan could shoot down North Korea’s missiles with US equipment.
Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe said earlier that he was considering it.
Though the President Trump will only spend about 24 hours in South Korea, it is perhaps the most symbolic stop in his Asian tour.
His visit is designed to bolster the military alliance that has long protected South Korea, and strength in unity is the message they want to send to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un just across the border.
However, the two presidents also have their differences. President Trump has previously accused Moon Jae-in’s government of trying to appease North Korea.
Donald Trump has also previously criticized the free trade agreement between the US and South Korea, and has made clear he wants to re-negotiate its terms.
During the press conference, President Trump said the deal had been “quite unsuccessful” for the US, and that the two countries were going to “pursue a much better deal”.
Protests against Donald Trump, as well as counter-rallies welcoming him, have been held in Seoul and elsewhere.
President Trump will be going to China, Vietnam and the Philippines in the coming week.
South Korea’s sports minister had suggested a joint ice hockey team – even going as far as to suggest they might allow the north to host skiing events – to help make the 2018 games a “peace Olympics”.
President Moon Jae-in, who advocates greater dialogue with South Korea’s neighbors, then put forward the idea of a wider unified Olympic squad.
How Chang Un said the games should not be used for political purposes, adding: “As an expert of the Olympics, it is a little late to be talking about co-hosting. It’s easy to talk about co-hosting, but it is never easy to solve practical problems for that. It’s the same for forming a joint team for ice hockey.”
South Korean officials have said they continue to be open to the idea.
The two sides remain technically at war as the fighting at the end of the Korean War in 1953 did not end with a peace treaty. Tensions have risen recently following repeated missiles tests carried out by Pyongyang.
The nature of the launch is still being determined, but analysts have said the test could suggest a longer range than previously tested devices.
According to the Japanese defense minister, the missile flew for about 30 minutes before falling in the Sea of Japan and could be a new type of missile, Reuters reported.
Tomomi Inada said it covered a distance of 435 miles, reaching an altitude of more than 1,245 miles – higher than that reached by an intermediate-range missile North Korea fired in February.
The US Pacific Command said in a statement the type was being assessed but that its flight was not consistent with that of an intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM], which would have the range to reach the US mainland.
Moon Jae-in has been critical of the two previous conservative administrations, which took a hard-line stance against Pyongyang, for failing to stop North Korea’s weapons development.
Since the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953, there have only been two summits where the leaders of the two Koreas have met, both held in Pyongyang.
Moon Jae-in spearheaded preparations for the second meeting in 2007, when serving as a presidential aide.
The US, South Korea’s most important ally, has congratulated Moon Jae-in on his victory.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the US looked forward to continuing to “strengthen the alliance” and “deepen the enduring friendship and partnership”.
Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe said their countries faced common challenges “led by responses to the North Korean issue” but they could “further contribute to peace and prosperity of the region by working together”.
China’s President Xi Jinping said he “always attaches great importance to the relationship between China and South Korea”, and that he was “willing to diligently work with” with Moon Jae-in to ensure both countries benefit, reported Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
A record turnout is predicted, with numbers boosted by younger voters, as South Koreans choose from 13 candidates.
Polls close at 20:00 local time, with the winner expected to be announced soon after. The new leader is likely to be sworn-in on May 10.
Heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula in recent weeks have made the perennial worries over the South’s volatile neighbor a key issue.
Moon Jae-in, of the Democratic Party of Korea, has advocated greater dialogue with North Korea while maintaining pressure and sanctions.
Both Moon Jae-in and Ahn Cheol-soo have urged President Donald Trump to cool his rhetoric towards North Korea after his administration suggested it could take military action over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
However, Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative governing Liberty Korea Party has attacked Moon Jae-in’s approach, saying last week that the election was a “war of regime choices”.
North Korea state media said it favored a return to an earlier era of communication and co-operation known as the Sunshine policy, seen as an endorsement of Moon Jae-in who was part of the previous South Korean government which promoted that policy.
All the candidates are promising to protect the fragile recovery in the country’s economy – the fourth largest in Asia – and to bring down youth unemployment, which remains stubbornly high.
There have been vows to reform the family-run conglomerates – chaebols – which dominate the domestic economy.
Whoever wins will have to tackle ties with China, which retaliated economically over the deployment of a US missile defense system in South Korea.
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