Kim Jong Un is “not that kind of person” who will shoot missiles at the United States, the North Korean leader said, according to a briefing held Sunday by the South Korean presidential office.
Kim, who met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in an historic summit at the demilitarized zone on Friday, said at the meeting he plans to allow U.S. and South Korean officials to inspect the country’s Poongye-ri nuclear testing site after shutting it down in May, South Korea officials said. The South Korean presidential office said Sunday that specialists and journalists from Seoul and Washington, D.C. would be invited to the site “soon.”
“Some say [we are] shutting down an already-wasted place, but [you] will see that we have two more tunnels that are bigger than the [old] experimental facilities and they are in good condition,” Kim is quoted as saying by South Korean officials.
North Korea says it is suspending nuclear tests ahead of much-anticipated talks
Six underground tests were conducted at the North Korean facility, the most recent of which occurred in September 2017.
The South Korean presidential office also quoted Kim as saying the U.S. has nothing to fear when it comes to launching intercontinental ballistic missiles across the Pacific Ocean.
“The U.S. holds fundamental rejection [opposition] towards North Korea, but if [the U.S.] talks to us, they will know that I am not that kind of person who will shoot nuclear [missiles] to South or Pacific Ocean or targeting the U.S.,” Kim is alleged to have said.
Kim announced his country would “no longer need any nuclear tests, mid and long and ICBM rocket tests,” and therefore suspended nuclear tests and launches of ICBMs last week. The rogue country has already said it possesses missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
The talks on Friday were hailed as successful by both the North and South. Moon and Kim posed for photos at the DMZ, symbolically holding hands as Kim stepped into South Korea for the first time, but the two also pledged to discuss an official end to the Korean War. Despite a cessation of combat, the war, which began in 1950, was never officially ended.
The nations signed an armistice when the fighting ended in 1953, but they’ve now agreed to pursue a proper peace agreement tied to the “common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.” The U.S., which signed the armistice, would also be involved.
“[I] reconfirm that using military force will never take place,” Kim said, according to statements made by South Korean officials on Sunday.
President Donald Trump, who praised Friday’s meeting on Twitter, is set to summit with Kim in May or early June, according to the White House. Trump spoke briefly of the potential meeting with North Korea’s leader at a campaign-style rally in Michigan on Saturday night.
“We’ll have a meeting over the next three to four weeks, we’ll see how that goes,” Trump said, offering little detail. “Whatever happens, happens.”
Trump’s newly confirmed secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, met with Kim at the beginning of April in a meeting held in close secrecy at the time.
In a smaller — but symbolic — announcement, South Korea also said Kim agreed to unify time zones with the South. North Korea announced in 2015 that it would set its time zone a half hour behind South Korea.
Now, both countries would revert to nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 14 hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern time zone.