DPRK announces dismantling of nuclear test site

13 May, 2018, 02:42 | Author: Carlos George
  • North Korea's last nuclear test triggered an earthquake

The announcement of the site's dismantlement comes ahead of a planned meeting between Kim and Trump in Singapore on June 12, which, if it takes place, will mark the first summit between a sitting USA president and a North Korean leader.

KCNA reports the "technical measures" to carry out the process will take place between May 23 and 25.

The announcement also says journalists from China, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom and South Korea will be allowed to cover the dismantling, to ensure the transparency of the process.

Plans by Kim Jong Un to shut the site down were revealed ahead of his historic summit with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea last month.

Pompeo said he had told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of that hope during his brief visit to Pyongyang earlier this week.

Experts have said the pledge was a big step forward but verifying it will be hard.

Mr. Kim has said that when he meets with Mr. Trump, he is willing to discuss relinquishing his country's nuclear arsenal in return for security guarantees, the lifting of sanctions and other incentives from the United States.

The United States aspires to have North Korea as a "close partner" and not an enemy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, noting the U.S. has often in history become good friends with former adversaries.

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However, lingering doubts remain about whether Kim would ever agree to fully relinquish the weapons he likely views as his only guarantee of survival.

Chinese geologists believe the mountain over the main site was likely to have collapsed after North Korea exploded its largest ever nuclear weapon a year ago, making it unsafe for further testing and requiring radiation monitoring.

But U.S. intelligence officials have said it remains usable and could be reactivated "in a relatively short period of time" if it was closed.

They will be taken to the guarded state via a charter flight from Beijing to the coastal city of Wonsan in North Korea.

Many long-term analysts are sceptical that Kim, who only announced in December that the country's nuclear forces were completed, will give up such a hard-won prize even for extremely generous aid.

A dismantling "ceremony" will be held and journalist from the U.S., South Korea and elsewhere will be invited, Pyongyang said.

The North also said for the first time at the meeting that it had been conducting "subcritical" nuclear tests.

The rogue nation will start to take the facility apart on May 23, with global media watching.

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