Updated Jan 1, 2020 - World

Kim Jong-un announces end to moratorium on nuclear weapon tests

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un giving his New Year's speech on Dec. 30, 2019. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in a New Year's speech that his country would abandon a self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, declaring that there "will never be denuclearization on the Korean peninsula" unless the U.S. drops its "hostile" policies, according to state media.

Why it matters: North Korea has not conducted a nuclear or long-range missile test in more than two years, hoping for a breakthrough in negotiations spurred by Kim's friendly personal relationship with President Trump, according to the New York Times. Trump has often touted this moratorium as a diplomatic achievement.

The big picture: In earlier comments at a four-day conference for his ruling party, Kim accused the Trump administration of failing to meet a year’s end deadline for concessions in nuclear talks and warned that North Korea will soon reveal a "new strategic weapon," according to AP.

  • Some experts say that North Korea is sensitive to U.S. elections and could avoid engaging in serious negotiations over the next year, especially with President Trump set to face an impeachment trial.

Trump's reaction: The president told reporters in Palm Beach Tuesday evening he got along with Kim, but the North Korean leader "did sign an agreement talking about decnuclearization," he said, referring to the Singapore summit document signed in 2018.

"I think he’s a man of his word, so we’re going to find out."
— Trump on Kim

Between the lines: Following the Singapore summit, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haas, writing for Axios, noted that the released statement on decnuclearization was "entirely aspirational" with little substance and "no definitions of denuclearization."

Go deeper: John Bolton hits Trump for bluffing on North Korea nukes

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's comments and more context on the Singapore summit.

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