North Korea's missiles are regularly paraded in the capital Pyongyang but estimates of its arsenal vary

Geneva (AFP) - North Korea plans to join international efforts to implement a total ban on nuclear weapons tests, it told the United Nations disarmament body Tuesday.

“DPRK will join international desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests,” North Korea’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Han Tae-song said in an address to the Conference on Disarmament, using North Korea’s official acronym.

His comment came amid a recent whirlwind of diplomacy and outreach by the long isolated regime, and ahead of a historic summit next month between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

Kim last month announced that his country would halt its own nuclear tests and intercontinental missile launches, which was widely hailed as an important step towards denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

But Pyongyang has yet to rejoin the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it withdrew from in 2003.

It is also one of eight countries with nuclear test capacity, including the United States, China and Iran, which have so far failed to either sign or ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, blocking it from taking effect.

Han, who made no reference to the treaties, told the UN assembly that his country aimed to make more “efforts to achieve the development of intra-Korean relations, defuse acute military tensions and substantially remove the danger of the war on the Korean peninsula.”

“It will make sincere efforts… to establish a durable lasting peace mechanism” with its neighbour to the south, he said, urging the international community to “extend its active support in encouraging and promoting the current positive climate.”

The recent diplomatic frenzy comes after years of tensions and ever-tightening sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Asked about the continued threats of sanctions from Washington, Han warned Tuesday that they were “a dangerous attempt to ruin the hard-won atmosphere of dialogue.”