Buildings being dismantled at NK nuke test site

Buildings being dismantled at NK nuke test site

It announced the upcoming dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear research facility, which hosted all six of the country's underground nuclear tests.

If North Korea eventually decides to exclude expert groups, the decision would show Pyongyang's willingness to complete the process of dismantling the nuclear site in a "prompt" manner, Seoul's presidential office said, on the apparent logic that expert verification could delay the process.

However, analysts believe the closure of the site is largely symbolic and doesn't represent a material step towards denuclearisation.

Then, between 23 and 25 May, a ceremony will be held in which " tunnels will be flown from test field and ir entrances will be completely blocked", according to North Korean Foreign Ministry.

South Korea's Unification Ministry told the Associated Press Tuesday that eight journalists from the country have been invited.

"Discontinuation of nuclear tests and follow up measures are an important process for global disarmament and DPRK will join worldwide disarmament efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests", Han told the disarmament forum, using his country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

However, according to experts, "more significant buildings around the site are still untouched".

"The prospect for North Korea is for it to become a normal nation, to behave and interact with the rest of the world the way South Korea does", he said.

His remarks come ahead of an unprecedented summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore on June 12, at which North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes are expected to dominate the agenda.

South Korea has said Kim has genuine interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits.

But there are lingering doubts about whether Kim will ever agree to fully relinquish his nukes.

North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of "denuclearization" that bears no resemblance to the American definition.

"My view is that North Korea wants to finish the job (of dismantling the nuclear test site) in a prompt, transparent and simple manner".

The newly installed top USA diplomat at times seemed to echo Trump's hard line. This could satisfy Trump but undermine the alliance between Washington and Seoul.

North Korea will join global efforts to ban nuclear tests, its ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae Song, told the Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday.

While South Korea's government appeared to downplay the absence of nuclear experts and worldwide watchdogs, the United States and Japan stressed the need to invite them for a more verifiable process.

"I think Chairman Kim understands that: I think he appreciates the fact that this (summit meeting with Trump) is going to have to be different and big and special, and something that has never been undertaken before".

North Korea blew up a cooling tower at the nuclear facility in 2007 following a deal with the United States, but soon restarted the reactor. Destruction of the test site in a verifiable manner is an indication of the firm resolve not to carry out further testing of its nuclear devices which has been a bone of contention between the North and some regional and global powers.

But in September 2008, the North declared that it would resume reprocessing plutonium, complaining that Washington wasn't fulfilling its promise to remove the country from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. Such an assurance is unlikely to be given by the nuclear-countries. Pompeo, speaking on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday said that the regime will benefit from private investment, not assistance from US taxpayers, in exchange for abandoning its nuclear weapon program.

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