Buildings dismantled at North Korean nuclear test site

Saul Bowman
May 17, 2018

The AP also reports that at a ruling party meeting last month, North Korea announced the plan to close the nuclear testing ground, along with a commitment to suspend all tests of nuclear devices and ICBMs.

Dialogue brokered by South Korea has seen US-North Korea relations go from trading personal insults and threats of war past year to a summit between Kim and Trump which will be held in Singapore on June 12. Nuclear material might be buried, but accessible enough to be dug up and reused in a weapon.

If accurate, the analysis of the images appears to show that North Korea has taken concrete steps to dismantle the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. In this process are invited global journalists, but not nuclear inspectors. Suh pointed out that North Korea refers to the Punggye-ri facility as its "northern test site", possibly implying there are others.

He further claimed that North Korea wishes to become a nuclear weapons state under the shield of officially being recognised as a denuclearised state.

Mr Kim had already revealed plans to shut the test site by the end of May during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month.

"We hope the sound of the dynamite blowing up the tunnels at Punggye-ri will be the first salute in our journey towards a nuclear-free Korean peninsula", the South's presidential spokesman said.

In 1999, the United States provided $800,000 to pay for a blast equivalent to 100 tons of dynamite to collapse a tunnel at a former Soviet test site in Kazakhstan.

Limits on foreign journalists were due to space constraints, it said, as the site was in an "uninhabited deep mountain area".

The official report published on KCNA stated: "Foreign journalists will be invited to observe the shutdown to ensure the transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test".

It suggested the incident "may" have been the reason for Kim's announcement of a suspension in testing.

China, Pakistan, India are also known to have conducted underground nuclear tests. The "subcritical" experiments give scientists an opportunity to test weapons without causing an actual nuclear chain reaction and explosion.

The United States, meanwhile, detonated at least 828 nuclear bombs underground at its Nevada Test Site. The transfer, which Pompeo told CBS the U.S.

During their meeting at a border truce village, Moon and Kim vaguely promised to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, but made no references to verification or timetables.

The U.S. State Department did not give a specific response when asked whether the United States had asked to send observers to the dismantling of the site or for worldwide monitors to be present.

"It is North Korea's diplomatic tactic to push the situation to extreme confrontation and suddenly send peace gestures". "We look forward to learning additional details". "If North Korea shuns them, it will once again face criticism that the dismantlement was just for show".

Seoul's Unification Ministry said it was informed by the North on Tuesday that eight South Korean journalists will be invited.

"They came back because Chairman Kim thought it was in his best interest to do so and we're thankful for that", Pompeo said of the release, which occurred while he was in Pyongyang to help set up next month's summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

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