May 15, 2018 / 2:43 PM / 2 years ago

North Korea will join 'efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests'

FILE PHOTO - North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations Han Tae Song attends the Conference of Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea will join international efforts to ban nuclear tests, its ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae Song, told the Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday.

North Korea, which is believed to have tested six nuclear weapons, has said it will dismantle its only known nuclear test site this month ahead of a meeting on June 12 between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.

“Discontinuation of nuclear tests and follow up measures are an important process for global disarmament and DPRK will join international disarmament efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests,” Han told the disarmament forum, using his country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Han did not explicitly mention the Comprehensive nuclear Test-Ban Treaty aimed at introducing that total ban.

North Korea is one of the so-called Annex 2 states that must ratify that treaty for it to come into force. The United States is another, though Washington has signed the treaty, which Pyongyang has not.

“DPRK will further make peace efforts to achieve the development of inter-Korean relations, defuse acute military tensions and substantially remove the danger of war on the Korean peninsula,” Han said.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), which works toward bringing the treaty into force, welcomed his remarks.

“I am encouraged to see reports that the DPRK permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament declared his country’s intention to ‘join international efforts to ban nuclear tests’,” CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a statement.

“We reiterate our offer for CTBTO to assist in any way in this endeavour.”

Reporting by Tom Miles; Additional reporting by Francois Murphy in Vienna; Editing by Alison Williams and Raissa Kasolowsky

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