Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

North Korea Has Reportedly Torn Down Parts Of Its Nuclear Test Site

North Korea Has Reportedly Torn Down Parts Of Its Nuclear Test Site

Analysts say that while the closure of the site is important, it doesn't represent a material step toward full denuclearization.

Earlier on May 12, 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Korea announced in a public ceremony about the of closing the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site.

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.

South Korea's mass-circulation JoongAng Ilbo daily said in an editorial Monday that "it is regrettable that North Korea did not invite nuclear experts to the destruction of the test site".

Perhaps more importantly, though, Saturday's statement did not mention invitations to experts or global inspectors, and it was unclear if that offer had been rescinded.

The shutdown process will unfold under the presences of journalists, including those from the United States and South Korea.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to meet June 12 in Singapore for the first ever summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

South Korea, which brokered the planned talks between Trump and Kim, says Kim has genuine interested in dealing away his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits.

The North also is widely believed to have as many as 60 nuclear weapons and production facilities that were not affected.

But the US "will have to provide security assurances to be sure", Pompeo said, without elaborating on details.

The meeting between Moon and Kim resulted in few specifics and was largely seen as a prelude to the first-ever U.S.

Last November, according to CNBC, North Korea unveiled its largest and most powerful rocket, the Hwasong-15 or KN-22, in its third intercontinental ballistic missile test. The site is where 5 of the past 6 nuclear tests were conducted.

North Korea, which is believed to manage a vast subterranean network in part to frustrate US and South Korean spies and military planners, probably has other locations that could house tests.

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.

"If North Korea has really made a decision to denuclearize, it has no reason not to invite them", the editorial said. "It will make it more hard for Kim Jong Un to deny inspections now that he has placed them on the table".

North Korea blew up a cooling tower at the nuclear facility in 2007 following a deal with the U.S., but soon restarted the reactor.

"Commercial satellite imagery from May 7 provided the first definitive evidence that dismantlement of the test site was already well underway", Efe news agency reported citing the 38 North website report that published and analysed satellite images of the site.

But in September 2008, the North declared that it would resume reprocessing plutonium, complaining that Washington wasn't fulfilling its promise to remove the country from the USA list of state sponsors of terrorism. The document commits the two countries to a nuclear-free Peninsula and talks to bring the Korean War to a formal end.

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