North Korean Ambassador Han Tae Song announced Tuesday that North Korea intends to join international diplomatic efforts to effect a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons testing. North Korea last conducted a weapons test last year, and intends to dismantle its only test site later this month.
Ambassador Han made the announcement during the Conference on Disarmament, but notably did not specifically mention the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is the treaty being worked on to ban all weapons testing.
Presently, above-ground testing is banned worldwide, and North Korea carried out its testing underground, in a hollowed out mountain. North Korea is one of three Annex 2 states that are non-signatories to the CTBT, along with India and Pakistan. A handful of other nations, including the United States, have signed but not ratified the treaty.
North Korea has signaled its intention to disarm its nuclear program as part of broader peace deals, and with the upcoming closure of its test site has no reason not to back the test ban. Formally backing the ban would go a long way toward reforming North Korea’s international reputation, after decades of ever-growing isolation.