North Korea said on Saturday it no longer needed to conduct nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it had reached its weapons development goals, even though USA officials and experts do not believe the North's program is complete. It would benefit world security were North Korea to denuclearize, but it won't be even close to the end of the problems that have plagued the Korean peninsula for now nearly 75 years.
A further four North Koreans also died in the accident, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.
The broadcasts were stopped at midnight, the defence ministry said, without specifying whether they would resume after the Kim-Moon summit.
"We hope this decision will lead both Koreas to stop mutual criticism and propaganda against each other and also contribute in creating peace and a new beginning". The two will meet in the border village of Panmunjom, which sits within range of the broadcasts.
Even before the North's announcement, there had been a de facto freeze since Pyongyang's largest and most recent nuclear test in September and its last missile test in late November.
Brent, WTI Prices Dip as US Rig Count Increases
The action against Russia and eventually against Iran will lead to a sharp decline in the Russian ruble and the Iranian rial. Brent crude for June delivery traded at US$73.91 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, down 15 cents.
On Sunday, Trump initially defended his efforts in negotiations with North Korea by claiming the country had "agreed to denuclearization". Second, while the North Koreans indicated to the South Koreans (and perhaps to Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo, who made a secret trip) they'd consider denuclearization, they haven't agreed to anything.
It could be argued that North Korea retains a significant deterrent in its long-time ability to devastate the South Korean capital of Seoul with its artillery, which could result in millions of casualties.
The leaders of North and South Korea are set to meet on Friday.
"Right now, I think there is a lot of reasons for optimism that the negotiations will be fruitful, and we'll see", Mattis said Monday in response to a reporter's question just before he met with Thailand's Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon at the Pentagon.
But squeezed by ever-growing layers of sanctions imposed under Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign, he seems "more willing than ever before" to compromise his weapons push, said Hong Min, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification.
Kim sent a delegation headed by his sister to the Games and offered to put denuclearisation on the table in exchange for security guarantees. Seoul had been blasting propaganda messages and K-pop songs from border loudspeakers since the North's fourth nuclear test in early 2016. Under a 2015 deal struck with six foreign powers - the United States, Britain, Russia, France, Germany and China - Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program, long suspected of being aimed at developing weapons, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.