A senior North Korean diplomat has said his country's recent move to stop nuclear tests is an "important process" for global disarmament and it will join international efforts for a "total" halt of nuclear tests.
Han Tae-song, North Korea's ambassador to Switzerland, made the remarks at a United Nations disarmament conference in Geneva on Tuesday. His comments were carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday.
"The discontinuation of nuclear tests is an important process for global disarmament, and the DPRK will join the international desire and efforts for a total halt of nuclear tests," he was quoted as saying.
DPRK is the acronym of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
It is the first time that North Korea has expressed an intention for a total ban on nuclear tests, raising cautious expectations that it might be suggesting it will join the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
The CTBT prohibits all kinds of nuclear tests, including ones for peaceful purposes. The treaty signed by 166 countries has not been enforced.
Last month, North Korea announced that it will stop nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It also vowed to dismantle a symbolic nuclear test site where it conducted all previous six underground nuclear detonations.
North Korea is currently preparing to hold its unprecedented summit with the United States in Singapore on June 12, where denuclearization will likely top the agenda. The talks follow the historic inter-Korean summit held at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27.
Han dismissed the argument that the North has expressed an intent to denuclearize due to sanctions and pressure as "misleading" and a "dangerous attempt" to undercut the hard-won talks and atmosphere.
"He expressed expectations that the international community would extend its active support in encouraging the current positive climate on the Korean Peninsula," the KCNA quoted him as saying. (Yonhap)