2nd LD Writethru: DPRK announces dismantling of nuclear test site
12 May, 2018, 20:50 | Author: Edward Snyder
North Korea will publicly dismantle the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in the next two weeks, according to state media.
All tunnels at the testing ground in the northeast of the country will be destroyed by explosion, with observation and research facilities also to be removed, along with ground-based guard units.
North Korea said late Saturday that it is taking "technical measures" for dismantling its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, and will hold a "ceremony" between May 23 and May 25, inviting foreign journalists to mark the event in a "transparent manner".
Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in affirmed their commitment to the goal of "realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula" at a summit in the Demilitarized Zone that divides their countries last month.
The summit will be the first meeting ever between a sitting United States president and the leader of North Korea.
This week the North released three Korean-Americans it had detained into the care of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was making his second trip to Pyongyang in two months.
"In parallel with dismantlement of the nuclear test ground, guards and researchers will be withdrawn and the surrounding area of the test ground be completely closed", the statement said.
Given the limited space, only journalists from South Korea, China, Russia, the United States and Britain will be invited to cover the dismantling on-site, the ministry added.
All worldwide journalists will be provided with a charter flight into Wonsan, a port city in eastern North Korea, from Beijing, KCNA said.
North Korea announced at a ruling party meeting last month that it was suspending all tests of nuclear devices and ICBMs, as well as the plan to close the nuclear testing ground. 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 USA -proposed verification methods.
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. 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.
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