Dismantling of North Korea nuclear site 'well under way': US monitor

Arturo Kim
May 15, 2018

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.

The North invited four reporters each from wire news and broadcasting companies for the event to be held from May 23-25 to dismantle the Punggye-ri site, where the North has carried out all six of its nuclear denotation tests, according to the ministry.

North Korea outlined steps Saturday to dismantle its nuclear testing site - and confirmed that global journalists, including those from the United States and the United Kingdom, would be invited to watch this month as its tunnels are blown up.

But one step that was discussed, the closure and demolition of North Korea's nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri appears to be fully under way, according to satellite photographs.

The respected 38 North website said Tuesday that satellite images dated May 7 showed "the first definitive evidence that dismantlement of the test site was already well under way". However, Pyongyang has yet to say whether it will give up its nuclear weapons and dismantle related facilities other than Punggye-ri. The sixth and most recent test took place in September 2017.

President Trump has assured us he'll drive a hard bargain with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and he set the goal posts firmly at Kim's getting rid of his nuclear weapons.

Last year, US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un were having a freaky twitter war on the social media sites, exchanging threats of nuclear war.

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They will then take a train to the remote mountain test site location, which the report described as being in an "uninhabited deep mountain area".

"In the end, North Korea will remain 'a nuclear power packaged as a non-nuclear state, '" said Thae Yong Ho, the hermit kingdom's former deputy ambassador to the UK, Agence France-Presse reported.

Trump welcomed the North Korean announcement.

At a party meeting last month, Kim proclaimed that the development of the North's nuclear force was complete and promised no more nuclear or missile tests.

"North Korea's diplomacy has always been a repeat of hardline and appeasement", Thae said.

"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.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that North Korea will receive sanctions relief should they follow through with total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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