Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

N Korea dismantling nuclear test site: Satellite images

N Korea dismantling nuclear test site: Satellite images

Satellite imagery shows North Korea has started dismantling its only known underground nuclear test site in line with an announcement the country made last month, a USA institute monitoring the North said Monday.

N Korea said it will "completely" destroy Punggye-ri test site, in a ceremony scheduled between May 23-25 in front of invited foreign media.

To provide transparency, the ministry said journalists from South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Britain will be invited to observe the destruction of tunnels and the removal of observation and research facilities at the site.

Kim, who threatened to send missiles into waters near Guam, has reportedly fired more than 85 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapons tests since 2011, which is more than what his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a period of 27 years, CNBC said.

Pompeo met previously with Kim while Central Intelligence Agency director, flying secretly to North Korea over the Easter weekend to discuss the possibility of a summit meeting with Trump and negotiations over North Korea's nuclear program.

A campaign of diplomacy has allowed tensions to ease on the Korean Peninsula, but they were high throughout much of 2017, fueled by North Korea's missile tests and its advancing nuclear weapons program, as well as USA military exercises and Trump's threatening statements. But that's most likely because North Korean officials plan to blow up those test tunnels while global journalists are in attendance later this month. He reiterated on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump's goal was "the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea".

The analysis said that could be because North Korea has promised to invite foreign journalists to witness the site's final dismantling.

The reclusive state also released three U.S. citizens imprisoned in North Korea as newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang for a second time last week to prepare for Donald Trump's upcoming summit.

However, in spite of its pledge to stop testing, North Korea has given no indication it is willing to go beyond statements of broad conceptual support for denuclearization by unilaterally abandoning a nuclear weapons program its ruling family has seen as crucial to its survival. "The White House underscored the importance of shutting down the test site and allowing thorough inspection and verification by nuclear specialists".

Pompeo, who has met twice with the North Korean leader to discuss the summit, said he was "convinced" Kim shared U.S. goals. This is what y consider to be experts of 38North specialized page following material obtained on May 7, approximately one week after Kim Jong-Un announced closure of base where six nuclear tests have been carried out.

They also agreed to stop all hostile acts over "land, sea and air" and to resume family reunions on August 15.

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