Buildings dismantled at North Korean nuclear test site

15 May, 2018, 22:45 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • People watch a TV screen reporting that North Korea will dismantle nuke test site during a news programme at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul. Ahn Young-joon  AP

South Korean President Moon Jae-in welcomed the announcement Monday, calling it an "initial step in the complete denuclearisation of North Korea".

"Giving it up soon after Kim Jong Un himself labelled it the "treasured sword for defending peace" and a firm guarantee for the future?"

All of North Korea's six known nuclear bomb tests have taken place at Punggye-ri, in the northeastern of North Korea where a system of tunnels have been dug under Mount Mantap.

The eight South Korean journalists - four each from a wire agency and a broadcaster that have yet to be determined - will take a chartered flight from Beijing to the North Korean coastal town of Wonsan on May 22, the ministry said. "The White House underscored the importance of shutting down the test site and allowing thorough inspection and verification by nuclear specialists".

Located in mountainous terrain in the northeast of the country, Punggye-ri is less than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from China.

But both countries have been on charm offensives ahead of the summit June 12 in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, the first ever between a sitting USA president and a North Korean leader. Chinese geologists claimed in a study the cavity caused by last September's nuclear test collapsed shortly after the detonation, causing a powerful tremor. -North Korea summit, which will be held in Singapore on June 12.

Bolton said the United States side also will discuss not just North Korea's nuclear and missile programs but its chemical and biological weapons arsenal as well.

Friday's statement from the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) followed a visit by its representatives to the North Korean capital earlier this week.

"In the end, North Korea will remain 'a nuclear power packaged as a non-nuclear state, '" said Thae Yong Ho, the hermit kingdom's former deputy ambassador to the UK, Agence France-Presse reported.

But at different points, he also appeared to suggest that a deal might come up shy of making North Korea get rid of all of its current nukes.

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The country also vowed to stop testing missiles without notifying the worldwide community Saturday. Two of the North Korean missiles passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

He returned again to North Korea last week for a second meeting, after which Kim agreed to the release of the three Americans.

"We've done trade-for-trade, moment-for-moment; you give me X, I give you Y; and it has failed repeatedly", said Pompeo of the history of negotiations surrounding DPRK denuclearization efforts.

The Trump administration argues that it will only negotiate with North Korea "The complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling" of its nuclear program, something that regime has always refused to consider essential to its survival.

"North Korea's diplomacy has always been a repeat of hardline and appeasement", Thae said.

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

And Pompeo said he believed Kim Jong Un shares the same objectives as America, with the summit task, therefore, being for Trump and Kim to "meet to validate the process by which this would go forward, to set out those markers so that we can negotiate this outcome".

The summit, which has been in the works since Trump accepted Kim's invitation to meet in March, will be the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader.

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

The secretary said he was "convinced" Kim shared USA goals. In a tweet on Saturday, President Trump praised the North Korean leader for his "very smart and gracious gesture". "It will make it more hard for Kim Jong Un to deny inspections now that he has placed them on the table".

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