North Korea says nuclear and long-range missile tests are suspended
- Nuclear test site to be stood down
- Country says move is to shift national focus and improve economy
- Trump welcomes news calling it "big progress"
North Korea says it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests, and plans to close a nuclear test site.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency said the suspension of nuclear and ICBM tests went into effect on Saturday.
The country says it is making the move to shift its national focus and improve its economy.
The announcements came days before North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a border truce village for a rare summit aimed at resolving the nuclear stand-off with Pyongyang.
The North's decisions were made in a meeting of the ruling party's full Central Committee which had convened to discuss a "new stage" of policies.
US president Donald Trump has welcomed North Korea's announcement that it will suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests - calling it "big progress".
He tweeted: "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."
Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said it was not the time to ease pressure on North Korea, following news that Pyongyang had decided to suspend its nuclear and missile tests effective immediately, Kyodo News reported.
Onodera was speaking to reporters on Friday in Washington, the news agency said.
Japan has advocated a policy of maximum pressure to get the reclusive state to abandon its weapons programme.
South Korea's presidential office welcomed North Korea's announcement as "meaningful progress" toward the denuclearisation of the peninsula.
Presidential official Yoon Young-chan said in a statement that the North's decision brightens the prospects for successful talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington.