Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Korea to destroy nuclear site ahead of USA summit: KCNA

North Korea's last nuclear test triggered an earthquake North Korea’s last nuclear test triggered an earthquake Kim Hong-Ji Reuters
| 13 May, 2018, 01:04

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".

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

The dismantling of the Punggye-ri site, the exact date of which will depend on weather conditions, will involve the collapsing of all tunnels using explosives and the removal of all observation facilities, research buildings and security posts. "North Korea's nuclear test center will be discarded in order to ensure the transparency of the suspension of the nuclear test".

Since Trump announced plans to hold a summit with Kim, questions have been raised continually about whether the two leaders have the same objective in mind when they speak about "denuclearization".

Washington is seeking the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" of the North and stresses that verification will be key.

At a ruling party meeting last month, North Korea had already announced that it has suspended all tests of nuclear devices and ICBMs and the plan to close the nuclear testing ground.

Trumps remarks came on the heels of the DPRK's release of three detained U.S. citizens, who came back with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo early Thursday after his visit to Pyongyang in preparation for the Trump-Kim summit.


Given the stage it had already reached, Pyongyang "may feel like they don't need to test anything for a while", he said.

"We had good conversations about the histories of our two nations, the challenges that we have had between us", Pompeo told reporters at a news conference with South Korea's visiting foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha.

The summit, which has been within the works since Trump accepted Kim's invitation to fulfill in March, would be the first ever assembly between a sitting USA president and North Korean chief.

And as the eyes of the world turn toward North Korea, it will be under pressure to deliver on its show of goodwill by committing to further steps to denuclearize the peninsula.

Officials in Seoul had 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.

"I think there is complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are", Pompeo said, though he declined to offer more detail.

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