North Korea Sets Date for Shutting Down Its Nuclear Test Site

12 May, 2018, 20:51 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Pompeo says US ready to provide N Korea with assurances if it denuclearises

"Dismantlement of the nuclear test ground will be done in the following sequence - making all tunnels of the test ground collapse by explosion; completely blocking entries; removing all observation facilities, research institutes and structures of guard units on the ground", the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced that it will hold a ceremony for the dismantling of its nuclear test site on May 23-25, state media said Saturday.

Leader Kim Jong Un had revealed plans to shut down the nuclear test site during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month.

Officials in Seoul said in April that North Korea planned to invite experts and journalists from the United States and South Korea for the shutdown of its test site.

"All global journalists will be provided with (a) charter flight from Beijing to Wonsan", it said.

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Following the Moon-Kim summit, Moon's office said Kim was willing to disclose the process to worldwide experts, but the North's statement Saturday didn't include any mention about allowing experts on the site.

Kim has expressed a commitment to the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, although there are still questions about his sincerity given North Korea's tendency to fail to follow through on its commitments.

North Korea has declared its nuclear forces complete late a year ago after its most powerful nuclear test to date in September and the launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles that experts say are capable of hitting most, if not all, of the continental United States. In another sign of improving relations, North Korea this week released three USA citizens who had been imprisoned in the country.

But sceptics warn that Pyongyang has yet to make any public commitment to give up its arsenal, which includes missiles capable of reaching the United States. North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests at this site. However, a final attempt by Bush to complete an agreement to fully dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program collapsed that December when the North refused to accept US -proposed verification methods. For instance, Kim's father Kim Jong Il invited foreign journalists to watch the destruction of a cooling tower at the Yongbyon reactor, where the North produced plutonium, in the summer of 2008.

The North went on to conduct its second nuclear test in May 2009.

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