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North Korea says will stop nuclear tests; Trump hails the move

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SEOUL — North Korea will suspend nuclear and missile tests and scrap its nuclear test site and instead pursue economic growth and peace, the North’s state media said on Saturday, ahead of planned summits with South Korea and the United States.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country no longer needed to conduct nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it had completed its goal of developing nuclear weapons, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

North Korea said that to create an ‘international environment favorable’ for its economy, it would “facilitate close contact and active dialogue” with neighboring countries and the international community.

It was the first time Kim directly addressed his position on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs ahead of planned summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week and with US President Donald Trump in late May or early June.

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The pledge to halt the development of nuclear weapons, initiated by his grandfather and continued by his father, would mean a significant reversal for the young, third-generation leader, now 34, who has staked his security on his nuclear arsenal and spent years celebrating such weapons as an integral part of his regime’s legitimacy and power.

US President DOnald Trump has welcomed the statement about the meeting and said he looked forward to a summit with Mr Kim.

“North Korea has agreed to suspend all nuclear tests and close up a major test site,” he said on Twitter adding, “Look forward to our summit.”

Trump added that he received a message from Mr Kim stating: “North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles … [and will] shut down a nuclear site in the country’s Northern Side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear tests.”

Likewise, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed North Korea’s move, which it said would help ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and promote denuclearisation.

“The Chinese side believes that North Korea’s decision will help ameliorate the situation on the peninsula,” it said in a statement.

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Massive fire guts property worth millions in Itahari

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ITAHARI- Goods, raw materials and equipments worth over Rs 20 million were gutted when a fire broke out at the Laxmi Foam Industry at Khanar of Itahari Sub-metropolitan City-10 in Sunsari district this morning.

It is said the fire suddenly broke out from the warehouse area of the industry where the ready-made goods are stored. Police have speculated that the fire started at 4 am when the industry had already closed and there were no workers inside.

The industry is owned by Bhanu Tibadewala. According the Shankar Thakur, the manager at the industry, the raw materials of doormat and important machinery at the industry have also been damaged in the inferno.

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Nepal Army, the Armed Police Force and the Nepal Police personnel as well as the Itahari fire brigade made attempts to douse the fire after some time it started.

Fire trucks from Dharan, Inaruwa, Biratnagar, Duhabi and Sundarharaincha were immediately called into service thereby bringing the huge inferno under control and preventing further damage, said Shiva Kumar Shrestha, Deputy Superintendent of Police at the Area Police Office Itahari.

He said the cause of the fire is not yet ascertained and the extent of damage is being assessed.

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