North Korea details plans to dismantle nuclear test site
North Korea has scheduled the dismantlement of its nuclear test site for sometime between May 23 and 25, depending on weather conditions, in order to uphold its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests, the country’s state media reported on Saturday, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The official Korean Central New Agency said dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear test ground would involve collapsing all of its tunnels with explosions, blocking its entrances, and removing all observation facilities, research buildings and security posts.
“The Nuclear Weapon Institute and other concerned institutions are taking technical measures for dismantling the northern nuclear test ground ... in order to ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test,” KCNA said.
The announcement comes after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would hold a summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, the first-ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday North Korea can look forward to “a future brimming with peace and prosperity” if it agrees to quickly give up its nuclear weapons.
However, in spite of its pledge to stop testing, North Korea has given no indication it is willing to go beyond statements of broad conceptual support for denuclearization by unilaterally abandoning a nuclear weapons program its ruling family has seen as crucial to its survival.
In announcing the plan to shut Punggye-ri last month, Kim said North Korea no longer needed to conduct tests because it had completed its goal of developing nuclear weapons.
KCNA said journalists, including from the United States and South Korea, would be invited to cover the event, to “show in a transparent manner the dismantlement of the northern nuclear test ground to be carried out”.
To accommodate the travelling journalists, North Korea said various measures would be taken including “opening territorial air space”.
All international journalists would be provided with a charter flight into Wonsan, a port city in eastern North Korea, from Beijing, KCNA said. There, reporters will board a charter train to the nuclear test ground in an “uninhabited deep mountain area”.
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