Thursday, 24 May, 2018

DPRK announces dismantling of nuclear test site

People watch a TV screen showing file footage of US President Donald Trump right and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news programme at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul South Korea South and North Korea to hold another round of high-level talks on the border
Gerardo Duncan | 13 May, 2018, 01:05

The surprise move by President Kim Jong Un may be an attempt to ease relations prior to a summit with Donald Trump, but a new reports suggests the collapse of North Korea's test facility may have been a contributing factor. South Korean officials said in April North Korea also planned to invite experts from USA and South Korea, but KCNA made no mention of this.

North Korea has declared its nuclear forces complete late previous year after its most powerful nuclear test to date in September and the launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles that experts say are capable of hitting most, if not all, of the continental United States.

The country's central news agency said it would blow up all the tunnels on the nuclear test ground.

The North Korea-watching 38 North blog said on April 30 that synthetic aperture radar data of the test site corroborates Kim's statement that two tunnels remain viable. The demolition viewing party is now scheduled less than three weeks before the June 12 summit in Singapore between Kim, Moon, and President Trump. Amid concerns that North Korea will demand the U.S. withdraw its troops from neighboring South Korea, Kang emphasized that the U.S. military presence there must be "a matter for the U.S. -ROK alliance first and foremost", using an acronym for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea. In another sign of improving relations, North Korea this week released three US citizens who had been imprisoned in the country.

A day after returning from a visit to Pyongyang, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said Washington could help bring economic prosperity to isolated North Korea.

The journalists will be provided with a charter flight from Beijing to the North Korean coastal city of Wonsan, from where they will travel by train to the test site, the statement said.

Dialogue brokered by Seoul has seen US-North Korea relations go from trading personal insults and threats of war a year ago to a summit between Kim and President Donald Trump due in Singapore on June 12.

During the Friday press conference, Pompeo said he had had a "warm" conversation with the North Korean dictator and that he believed the two countries agreed on the objectives of the summit.

Trump and South Korea's President are on account of meet on Could 22 on the White Home. However, a final attempt by Bush to complete an agreement to fully dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program collapsed that December when the North refused to accept US-proposed verification methods.

"I actually assume he desires to do one thing and convey the nation into the actual world", he added of Kim.

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