The decision by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to discontinue nuclear tests indicates its continued efforts to hold dialogues with the international community and create an environment favorable for its economic development, Chinese experts said.
DPRK leader Kim Jong-un announced at the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea on Friday that the DPRK will discontinue nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic rocket test launches as of Saturday, the Korean Central News Agency reported.
The country's northern nuclear test facility will be dismantled to transparently guarantee the discontinuance of nuclear tests, the news agency reported.
Kim said the mission to build a nuclear force has been completed and now the strategic route for his party is to concentrate on economic construction, KCNA said.
"We will concentrate all efforts on building a powerful socialist economy and markedly improving people's living standard through the mobilization of all human and material resources of the country," the agency quoted a statement released following the WPK session.
China welcomed the decision, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Saturday that China believes it will help ease the situation and promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as well as help resolve a political settlement of the peninsula's issues.
Kim's announcement was made before his expected meetings with Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump.
"The North will now engage in negotiations to obtain the normalization of ties and the lifting of sanctions, which are essential for developing its economy and improving people's livelihoods," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the Seoul-based University of North Korean Studies.
Sun Xingjie, an associate professor at Jilin University, said the DPRK aims to create an international environment favorable for its economic development and to facilitate contacts and dialogues with the international community.
Teng Jianqun, director for the Department of American Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said it is another gesture from Kim to seek an end to the confrontation with the United States and could pave the way for the peninsula's denuclearization goal.
The decision was hailed by the international community. Seoul called it "meaningful progress" toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Presidential official Yoon Young-chan said in a statement that the DPRK's decision brightens the prospects for successful talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Trump welcomed the statement and said he looked forward to a summit with Kim. "North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World－big progress! Look forward to our Summit," Trump said in a Twitter post.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed it as "a positive step forward" on the path toward denuclearization.
The Russian Foreign Ministry urged the US and ROK to take adequate measures aimed at reducing military activities in the region and achieving mutually acceptable agreements with the DPRK at the upcoming inter-Korean and U.S.-DPRK summits, a statement said.