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Pyongyang indicates intention to lift suspension on nuclear and ICBM tests

North Korea has indicated it could soon lift a self-imposed moratorium on tests of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which has been in place for nearly four years.

At a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), the committee agreed to “resume all temporarily suspended activities” in terms of the country's defence policy, the government's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on 20 January.

KCNA said that the politburo meeting, chaired by leader Kim Jong-un, “repositioned” North Korea's defence policies to “strengthen and develop more powerful physical means to firmly suppress hostile acts against [the country] … without delay”.

According to KCNA, “Instructions were sent to the relevant department to promptly review the issue of resuming all activities and resuming all temporarily suspended activities.”

KCNA said hostile acts against North Korea have been led by the US. It referenced US military exercises, weapons tests, the “movement of strategic weapons” across South Korea, and recent sanctions that were imposed by Washington earlier in January on several North Korean individuals.

It added that the US policy was jeopardising North Korea's right to self-defence. “The politburo evaluated that the US hostile policy and military threat has reached a point of danger than can no longer be tolerated,” KCNA said.

The politburo agreed that North Korea should proceed with “practical actions that enhance our strength to protect the dignity, sovereignty, and interests of the state,” it added.

North Korea's moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing was introduced in April 2018. The measure was imposed by Pyongyang to support closer ties with the US.

The move came two months before the June 2018 North Korea–US Summit that took place in Singapore between Kim and then US President Donald Trump.

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