In a stunning piece of breaking news on Friday evening, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that he will suspend all nuclear and missile tests, according to state media.
In a statement quoted by South Korean media, the Korean Central News Agency also said a nuclear site where that last six nuclear tests were conducted would be shut down.
“From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the Korean Central News Agency said.
CNN’s Will Ripley, one of the few journalists who regularly reports from the repressive Hermit Kingdom, phoned in to Wolf Blitzer’s show on Friday night to cover the breaking news.
“Kim Jong Un has announced to his country and his own people that he has completed his nuclear program, and therefore there is no need to continue developing nuclear weapons,” Ripley reported.
“This is an extraordinarily significant development, and frankly a huge win for President Trump going into these discussions, this potential summit, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,” he continued.
Ripley quoted a North Korean official who had optimistic words about the move: “Finally Kim Jong Un has decided to open up,” the source said. “This is a new chapter for the DPRK. He has committed himself to the path of denuclearization and will now focus solely on economic growth and the national economy. Finally he has realized the best path forward is to open up the country and normalize relations.”
“He is finally being recognized by the international community, and this is an historic, timely opportunity,” the North Korean official concluded.
“Wolf, I have to say, I am really almost speechless here at the pace at which North Korea has done this U-turn,” Ripley reacted. “This all started with Donald Trump agreeing to sit down with a summit with Kim Jong Un.”
Watch above, via CNN.
UPDATE: 7:03 p.m. EST:
Trump responded to the news on Twitter:
[image via screengrab]