North Korea details plans to dismantle nuclear test site this month

Minnie Murray
May 15, 2018

Satellite imagery shows North Korea has started dismantling its only known underground nuclear test site in line with an announcement the country made last month, a US institute monitoring the North said Monday.

The North invited four reporters each from wire news and broadcasting companies for the event to be held from May 23-25 to dismantle the Punggye-ri site, where the North has carried out all six of its nuclear denotation tests, according to the ministry.

What a difference a year makes!

According to the KCNA announcement, the North will invite local press, but global media will be limited to journalists from China, Russia, South Korea, Britain and the United States, due to the testing ground's "small space". These breakthroughs reflect the effectiveness of diplomacy, when it is done right.

Pompeo met previously with Kim while Central Intelligence Agency director, flying secretly to North Korea over the Easter weekend to discuss the possibility of a summit meeting with Trump and negotiations over North Korea's nuclear program. Further gestures from both states, reflecting their commitment to peace, would better indicate whether the once hostile countries are going to honour their promises, or if this peace is just temporary.

It did note that the site's tunnel entrances are still open.

Some in the global community believe Kim's commitment to close Punggye-ri is a welcome development.

"My view is that North Korea wants to finish the job (of dismantling the nuclear test site) in a prompt, transparent and simple manner".

Moon's office previously said Kim told Moon during their April 27 summit that he would allow not only outside journalists but also experts to watch the dismantling of the Punggy-ri test site. -North Korean summit, which Trump has said will be held June 12 in Singapore. The sixth and most recent test took place in September 2017. Its military also confirmed it has seen signs that North Korea is preparing to close the testing ground.

North Korea's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea's foreign Ministry said the country will continue to 'promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighbouring countries and the worldwide society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and over the globe'.

According to a report from Voice of America on Monday, a White House official said while Washington welcomed Pyongyang's decision to close down the nuclear site, the process should undergo inspections by worldwide experts.

The two Koreas are due to meet for a high-level meeting on Wednesday to discuss follow-up measures from their summit last month, Seoul's unification ministry said.

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