North Korea begins dismantling its nuclear silo

North Korea begins dismantling its nuclear silo

"A ceremony for dismantling the nuclear test ground is now scheduled between May 23 and 25", depending on weather, the Foreign Ministry's statement said, adding that journalists from the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and Britain will be invited to witness the dismantling.

Critics say that the nuclear site has already been rendered useless following the previous six blast tests and that dismantling it can be seen just as a symbolic step.

Prior to Kim's meeting with Moon, the North Korean leader announced on April 21 that all nuclear and missile tests were to be suspended, saying the Punggye-ri site had "finished its mission" after completing its nuclear programme. Pompeo, speaking on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday said that the regime will benefit from private investment, not assistance from USA taxpayers, in exchange for abandoning its nuclear weapon program.

The analysis said no tunnel entrances at the test site appeared to have been permanently closed yet.

The settlement to close the North Korean Nuclear Test Site was reached at the talks between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-no on April 27. "Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!"

His comments come ahead of a unprecedented summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump on June 12 where they are expected to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the global organization that keeps watch for nuclear tests, said it has yet to be invited to observe the dismantlement, Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday.

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While satellite imagery indicates that the north portal of the test-site has been abandoned after the damage caused by the natural disaster, two of the other areas, approximately 2.5 and 3.5 kilometers from the peak of the mountain, remain accessible through the south and west portals.

Kim last month announced that his country would halt its own nuclear tests and intercontinental missile launches, which was widely hailed as an important step towards denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Trump is expected to push North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons at the meeting in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions and United States assistance in rebuilding Pyongyang's ailing economy.

"All the things the North Korean people need - [including] the capacity for American agriculture to support North Korea so they can eat meat and have healthy lives", he said.

Skeptics, however, say Pyongyang may have ulterior motives for highlighting the site's demolition, pointing to past demonstrations where it carried out similar spectacles to show its commitment to deals it later reneged on.

Kim's latest diplomatic overture has seen him hold a summit with the South's President Moon Jae-in and travel twice in less than two months to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at California's Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said in a blog post this week that recent satellite images had shown the removal of some buildings from the site.

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