North Korea Dismantling Nuclear Site, Says US Monitor
15 May, 2018, 22:50 | Author: Ted Wilson
Roh Jae-cheon, spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the South's military has seen signs that the North is conducting "preparatory work" so that it can carry out its plans to shut down its northeastern testing ground.
The US price for normalisation - complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation - is one Pyongyang has never before been willing to pay, regarding nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantee of the regime's survival.
The Punggye-ri site in the northeast of the country was used for all of the North's six nuclear tests and lies deep within mountains.
The North said it will hold a ceremony at the site next week to allow local and global journalists to witness the efforts.
"In particular, it was demolished a few buildings operational support, located near the Northern, Western and southern entrances", reads the document.
But an analysis by 38 North, a North Korea-focused U.S. website, said commercial imagery taken last week shows that several operational support buildings have been razed and rails for mining carts have apparently been removed.
Some of the rails for mining carts have also apparently been removed, the website said, adding that some carts seem to have been tipped over or disassembled.
Some key facilities remain intact and the tunnel entrances remain open, however. Ors simply speculate that base was unusable after last and most potent nuclear test last September.
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"My view is that North Korea wants to finish the job (of dismantling the nuclear test site) in a prompt, transparent and simple manner".
The United States is prepared to offer North Korea security assurances and bountiful private investment if it makes the strategic choice to give up its nuclear weapons, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged Sunday.
"This would be a preliminary step toward complete denuclearization", Moon said Monday, according to a transcript provided by his office.
While the DPRK has invited foreign journalists to witness the event, officials said due to space constraints only journalists from China, Russia, the United States, United Kingdom and South Korea will be accommodated.
North Korea's move comes ahead of Kim Jong-un's much-anticipated summit with Donald Trump in Singapore on 12 June.
Trump welcomed the North Korean announcement.
After months of tensions over his nuclear and missile tests, Kim has been reaching out to Washington and Seoul since the beginning of the year.
"The returnees have been reunited with their families".
"We will lay the groundwork for the sustainable development of inter-Korean relations and lasting peace by discussing implementation measures of the Panmunjom declaration", the ministry said, referring to the summit agreement.
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