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North Korea started to dismantle nuclear facilities

16 May 2018
North Korea started to dismantle nuclear facilities

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has begun dismantlement of buildings of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site prior to its closure, according to the report of a group of experts from the Johns Hopkins University released on 38 North website.

North Korea announced Saturday that it will dismantle its northeastern Punggye-ri test site between May 23 and 25 in the presence of local and global media.

The plan to dismantle the nuclear test site signals readiness of the North to pursue the path of denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula but understandably it would require cooperation and encouragement from other parties as well.

Announcing the decision last month, Kim, while portraying the move as a friendly gesture by North Korea towards the US and South Korea, also said the site was not necessary anymore because the nuclear weapons had been already been developed and no further tests were necessary, indicating that it was a credible nuclear power.

Washington's demand was delivered to North Korea ahead of the summit meeting in Singapore between Kim and Trump.

"It is regrettable that North Korea did not invite nuclear experts to the destruction of the test site", it said in an editorial.

The North did not reveal the number of spots it would give to non-Korean journalists, the ministry said.

Suh pointed out that North Korea refers to the Punggye-ri facility as its "northern test site", possibly implying there are others.

It also said some carts seem to have tipped over or been disassembled and several small sheds have been removed since its last analysis in late April.

The North also said for the first time at the meeting that it had been conducting "subcritical" nuclear tests.

It suggested the incident "may" have been the reason for Kim's announcement of a suspension in testing.

"In the end, North Korea will remain a nuclear power packaged as a non-nuclear state", he added.

After their April 27 meeting, Kim and Moon issued a vague vow for the "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Estimates from the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies say the Hwasong-15 is believed to have a range capable of hitting the entire continental United States.

Kim declared his nuclear force as complete in December, following North Korea's most powerful nuclear test to date in September and three flight tests of ICBMs created to reach the USA mainland.

'The prospect for North Korea is unbelievably strong if they'll commit to denuclearization.

Pyongyang pledged to close the testing ground after Kim last month declared the country's nuclear force complete and said it had no further need for the complex. Dismantling test field may show a desire not to continue trials, but it does not imply that country is willing to deliver its nuclear arsenal. They also agreed to stop all hostile acts over "land, sea and air" that can cause military tensions and clashes, establish a liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, and to resume temporary reunions between war-separated families. However, a final attempt by Bush to complete an agreement to fully dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program collapsed that December when the North refused to accept USA -proposed verification methods.