Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

North Korea to Begin Dismantling Its Only Known Nuclear Test-Site

North Korea to Begin Dismantling Its Only Known Nuclear Test-Site

North Korea has started dismantling its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, according to satellite pictures analysed by experts.

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.

The United States is pressuring North Korea to ship its nuclear weapons overseas before sanctions are lifted.

A statement issued during global negotiations with North Korea in 2005 over its nuclear weapons development said the "United States affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade (North Korea) with nuclear or conventional weapons".

Kim said during the meeting that the nuclear test site's mission had come "to an end" because the North had completed developing nuclear-capable intermediate-range missiles, ICBMs and other strike means.

It comes ahead of a historic summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. Trump called the action "a very smart and gracious gesture!" on Twitter and told reporters that the process "is very important".

And in the event Trump can secure the "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea", Pompeo said US investment could be possible, with "private sector Americans coming in" to the North to improve its energy, infrastructure, and agriculture sectors.

More news: Lightning lacks energy and intensity in loss to Capitals in Game 1

North Korea's plan to close the site has been welcomed by Washington, Seoul and the United Nations secretary general.

The objective of the new buildings at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Centre was unknown, 38 North has said, with "no observable signs that initial reactor operations are imminent".

A top defector said that North Korea will never completely give up its nuclear weapons.

The country's leader, Kim Jong Un, pledged last month to refrain from conducting nuclear tests and close Punggye-ri, which is located fewer than 100 miles from North Korea's border with China.

"Now that North Korea has accepted in principle that agreements should be verified, USA negotiators should hold them to this standard for any subsequent agreement", said Adam Mount, a senior defense analyst at the Federation of American Scientists.

Kim first revealed his plans during a summit last month with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. 38North analysts noted that several "key buildings" of Punggye-ri complex were demolished during those 15 days, as well as or secondary constructions. North Korea is desperately in need of energy support, electricity for their people they are there in great need of agricultural equipment and technology.

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.

Like this: