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Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump hails Kim's decision to dismantle Nuclear Test site

Trump hails Kim's decision to dismantle Nuclear Test site

Earlier in the day, North Korea's Foreign Ministry said the hermit Kingdom plans to destroy all of the tunnels at the country's northeastern testing ground by an explosion, as well as remove the observation and research facilities and guard units at the site.

North Korea said today that it will dismantle its nuclear test site in less than two weeks, in a dramatic event that would set up leader Kim Jong Un's summit with President Donald Trump next month.

The main opposition LKP, however, downplayed the North's announcement.

In the same announcement, North Korea invited journalists from the U.S., South Korea, China, Britain and Russian Federation to witness the event.

All worldwide journalists would be provided with a charter flight into Wonsan, a port city in eastern North Korea, from Beijing, KCNA said.

Limits on foreign journalists were due to space constraints, it said, as the site was in an "uninhabited deep mountain area". 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 previous year, which Pyongyang said was an H-bomb. Kim Jong-un promised to invite journalists and security experts to North Korea to watch the process. Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month affirmed their commitment to the goal of "realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula" at a summit in the Demilitarized Zone that divides their countries.

Experts have said the pledge was a big step forward but verifying it will be hard.

The ruling Democratic Party on Sunday welcomed North Korea's announcement of a detailed plan to dismantle its nuclear test site as a first step toward complete denuclearization, while the main opposition Liberty Korea Party downplayed it as nothing new.

But U.S. intelligence officials have said it remains usable and could be reactivated "in a relatively short period of time" if it was closed. Jeffrey Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, expected that the North "will sanitise the site before letting anyone see it". "So, it's a good confidence building measure, but not necessarily a sign of irreversible disarmament".

Pompeo Friday promised the USA would work to rebuild North Korea's sanctions-hit economy if it agreed to surrender its nuclear arsenal.

Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States and a leading expert on North Korea's nuclear program, said collapsing the Punggye-ri tunnels would be "a big and positive step", given his belief that North Korea still required more nuclear and missile tests to reach the USA mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile.

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