North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced today that the hermit nation was putting an end to its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The plan, first reported by state-run media, includes the closing of a nuclear test facility in the north of the country. The changes are planned to go into affect on April 21.
The unprecedented move, Yonhap News reported, is to prove to the U.S. and to the world that North Korea will suspend its nuclear program.
North Korea also noted they would discard the nuclear test center to “ensure the transparency of the suspension of the nuclear test.”
While this announcement does offer a glimmer of hope toward decreasing the amount of tension within the Korean Peninsula, most agree there is one key ideal piece of information missing from the announcement. It is currently unclear whether North Korea would be scrapping any nuclear weapons or missiles that already exist.
Experts all across the planet have been weighing in on Kim Jong Un’s announcement. These experts also haven’t been shy about the lack of information regarding any weapons or missiles that were already completed.
MIT associate professor Vipin Narang took to Twitter to point out the importance of the precise language of the claim.
“Closing the testing site doesn’t preclude atmospheric nuclear tests for example (or other sites). And missile tests could still be conducted under the guise of space launch vehicles.”
The professor also pointed out that North Korea had previously announced they had completed their nuclear deterrent. One Twitter user responded to the professor noting that both India and Pakistan also had functional nuclear weapons, as well as reliable delivery systems, despite the fact that they hadn’t run nuclear weapons testing in over two decades. Both the professor and various Twitter users just wanted to point out that the gesture of destroying a testing site may or may not hold much water if the country already has completed and functional weapons or other test sites.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 20, 2018
President Donald Trump also took to Twitter praising the development as “big progress.”
North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
In a week from today, North and South Korean leaders are scheduled for a diplomatic meeting. In the past, North Korea has been known to make similar gestures ahead of summits and other diplomatic meetings.
This announcement also comes shortly after the message Japan’s defense minister released yesterday stating that the air strike on Syria should be viewed as a “message to North Korea.”
“This is an action that was taken against weapons of mass destruction, and I think this gave a certain message to North Korea as well.”
At this point in time, experts across the planet are pretty skeptical about how to react to Kim Jong Un’s announcement.