CTBTO wants Nuclear test ban `deal’ with N/ Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in 2017. (Reuters)
North Korean missile test

The United States should include a binding nuclear test ban in any future agreement with North Korea, the head of the global test ban body said Wednesday, appealing to US President Donald Trump’s penchant for superlatives by calling it a “great deal!”

“I personally think that President Trump has an opportunity to do something major for the international community and for the world,” said Lassina Zerbo, the Secretary General of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

Getting Pyongyang to sign on to the global test ban treaty would be “something that none has been able to achieve,” Zerbo told a press conference. “What a great deal!”

Zerbo said major powers had missed an opportunity when they concluded the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme in 2015 without including a test ban.

Trump plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late May or early June, following a summit between Kim and South Korean president Moon Jae In this week.

Kim announced a halt of nuclear and long-range missile tests last week, without signalling that he would give up his nuclear weapons programme.

Zerbo said that the CTBTO’s experts stand ready to monitor the shutdown of North Korea’s nuclear test site, if they were tasked by the United Nations or as part of a political framework.

The CTBTO’s seismic stations have detected North Korean nuclear explosions, but the global test ban treaty is not yet in force because several key countries including North Korea, the United States and China have not yet adopted it.

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