North, South Korea agree to ‘dismantle’ key missile test sites

North Korea president Kim Jong-un (left) and South Korean president Moon Jae-in (right) in a peace making meeting at May Day stadium in the capital of Pyongyang. 

North Korea is set to “permanently” close down one of its main ballistic missile facilities in the presence of foreign experts an offer it said would need to be met with American reciprocity.

North Korea President Kim Jong-un and South Korea President Moon Jae-in met on Wednesday at May Day Stadium in the capital of Pyongyang, a meeting expected to usher in a new era of peace.

Moon said they had earlier agreed to turn the Korean Peninsula into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats.

“South and North Korea agreed on a specific step toward denuclearisation. It is a very meaningful achievement,” Moon said.

At a joint statement signed by the two presidents on Wednesday, North Korea will allow experts from “concerned countries” to watch the closure of its missile engine testing site and launch pad in the northwestern town of Dongchang-ri.

Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday that the two leaders have agreed to establish “buffer zones” along their land and sea borders to prevent the danger of accidental clashes.

“We have adopted a military agreement to terminate the historic tragic confrontations and hostility that have lasted over the past decades,” North Korean President Kim said. “We agree to make active efforts to make the Korean Peninsula a land of peace.”

Though North Korea has unilaterally stopped nuclear and missile tests, it did not allow international inspections for a dismantlement of its only known nuclear test site in May, drawing criticism that its action was unverifiable and could be easily reversed.

Satellite photographs and other evidence in recent months have suggested North Korea is continuing to work on its nuclear programme.

US President Donald Trump hailed Wednesday’s summit between Kim and Moon, saying there had been “tremendous progress” with North Korea, including on its denuclearisation.

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