17:16 GMT +310 December 2019
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    Retired U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to serve as defense secretary in Washington, U.S. January 12, 2017

    Mattis Says ‘A Lot of Reasons for Optimism’ on North Korea Talks

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Monday he is optimistic that upcoming talks with North Korea could be productive after Pyongyang announced its decision to halt nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

    "Right now, I think there is a lot of reasons for optimism that the negotiations will be fruitful and we'll see," Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

    President Donald Trump, left, in Dallas and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang
    © AP Photo / Evan Vucci, Wong Maye-E, File
    On Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to end nuclear and long-range missile tests and shut a nuclear test side in the country's north, according local media. The decision was reportedly made at a meeting of the ruling party’s central committee on Friday.

    Earlier on Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that North Korea’s decision to halt nuclear and ballistic missile tests was an "important decision" toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

    Pyongyang’s decision to suspend its nuclear and missile testing ahead of talks with South Korean and with US President Donald Trump has been hailed by world leaders.

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    Tags:
    negotiations, James Mattis, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States
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