North Korea Schedules Demolition of Nuclear Test Site


The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports that journalists from the US, South Korea, China, Russia and the United Kingdom will be invited to observe a ceremony marking the start of the process, which will be held at some point between 23 May and 25 May, depending on weather conditions.

The announcement comes days after Washington announced that the historic summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump will be held June 12 in Singapore.

The display at Punggye-ri, in the northeast of the country, will be another step in leader Kim Jong Un's charm offensive, with a ceremony scheduled between May 23-25. And the North's Foreign Ministry said the ceremony for the occasion has been scheduled for between May 23 and 25, depending on weather conditions. "We talked about the fact that America has often in history had adversaries who we are now close partners with and our hope that we could achieve the same with respect to North Korea". It will be the first time a sitting U.S. president has ever met a North Korean leader.

Kang said South Korean President Moon Jae In would be in Washington to see Trump later this month.

It follows a flurry of global engagement with North Korea as the two Koreas held their own summit in late April and officials plan to hold high-level meetings in coming weeks.

"In due consideration of small space of the test ground, journalists from other countries will be confined to those from China, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom and South Korea", said the statement.

North Korea indicated that "technical measures" are already being taken in preparation.

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All global journalists would be provided with a charter flight into Wonsan, a port city in eastern North Korea, from Beijing, KCNA said.

Punggye-ri has hosted all six of the North's nuclear tests, the latest and by far the most powerful in September previous year, which Pyongyang said was an H-bomb.

"In parallel with dismantlement of the nuclear test ground, guards and researchers will be withdrawn and the surrounding area of the test ground will be completely closed", the ministry said.

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.

"It would, however, require North Korea to clear out the test tunnels and rebuild any infrastructure that might be removed - or dig new tunnels at the site or elsewhere". It is already believed to be unusable after Pyongyang's...

Amid concerns that North Korea will demand America withdraw its troops from neighbouring South Korea, Kang emphasised that the US military presence there must be "a matter for the US-South Korea "alliance first and foremost".

The North went on to conduct its second nuclear test in May 2009.