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Friday 5 June 2020

North Korea to dismantle nuclear site ahead of US summit

The site at Punggye-ri, in the northeast of the country, will be dismantled in front of foreign media between 23-25 May - the latest in the North Korean leader's charm offensive

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Seol:  US President Donald Trump on Saturday thanked North Korea after it pledged to destroy its nuclear test site ahead of his summit meeting with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore.

North Korea will destroy its nuclear test site later this month, ahead of a summit with the United States pledging to blow up its tunnels in front of invited foreign media.

“North Korea has announced that they will dismantle Nuclear Test Site this month, ahead of the big Summit Meeting on June 12th,” he tweeted.

“Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!” Trump tweeted.

The site at Punggye-ri, in the northeast of the country, will be dismantled in front of foreign media between 23-25 May – the latest in the North Korean leader’s charm offensive. Punggye-ri, in the northeast of the country, has hosted all six of the North’s nuclear tests, the latest and by far the most powerful in September last year, which Pyongyang said was an H-bomb.

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

But sceptics warn that Pyongyang has yet to make any public commitment to give up its arsenal, which includes missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Washington is seeking the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation” of the North and stresses that verification will be key.

Kim has declared the development of the North’s nuclear force complete and that it had no further need for the site.

The latest measures will see the tunnels of the test site blown up and their entrances completely blocked, Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said, according to the official KCNA news agency.

All observation facilities and research institutes would be removed, along with guards, it said, “and the surrounding area of the testing ground be completely closed”.

Reporters from China, Russia, the United States, Britain and South Korea would be allowed to cover the event on site to show it “in a transparent manner”.

South Korea welcomed the announcement, which signalled the North’s willingness to carry out its pledges “not just in words but in action”.

 

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