Friday, 20 July, 2018

Buildings dismantled at North Korean nuclear test site

A satellite image of what is believed to be North Korea's nuclear test sight Image A satellite image of what is believed to be North Korea's nuclear test site
Patty Aguilar | 16 May, 2018, 06:39

Satellite imagery shows that North Korea has begun dismantling its nuclear test site in line with its promise, a USA website monitoring the reclusive regime said Monday. This is the first time that the US government mentioned a specific place in its territory to store North Korea's nuclear facilities and materials to be dismantled.

The two largest buildings at the command center and the main administrative support area remained intact, and no tunnel entrances appear to have been permanently closed, 38 North said.

Kim first revealed his plans during a summit last month with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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.

The ministry said the North will continue to "promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighbouring countries and the global society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and over the globe".

It could also be a bilateral or multilateral format, but Washington "is not telling North Korea" because following the North Korea-U.S. summit, China or Russia's involvement could also be "another negotiation card".

"Those are the kind of things that, if we get what it is the President has demanded - the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea - that the American people will offer in spades".

Seoul's Unification Ministry said the North sent a telegram signed by the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland via the Panmunjeom border village on Tuesday morning.

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The site's closure was set to come before the Kim-Trump summit, which had been shaping up as a crucial moment in the decades-long push to resolve the nuclear standoff with the North, which is closing in on the ability to viably target the mainland United States with its long-range nuclear-armed missiles.

The reclusive state also released three U.S. citizens imprisoned in North Korea as newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang for a second time last week to prepare for Donald Trump's upcoming summit. "Open inspections. The deconstruction of the nuclear weapons, I think, will be by the United States with perhaps assistance from others".

Oak Ridge has some capacity to do that because it's relatively secure and already works on US nuclear warhead life extension, Kimball said.

"DPRK will join global desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests", Han said. Bolton made specific remarks on the location for storing nuclear materials and weapons for the first time. Kim has denied such views, saying the site has two additional underground tunnels that could be used for new tests.

Analysis published Monday claims photographs taken May 7 show some of the buildings at the site have been razed.

"The prospect is for North Korea to become a normal nation, to behave and interact with the rest of the world the way South Korea does", Bolton told host Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union".

The administration of George W. Bush removed North Korea from the list in October 2008 after the country agreed to continue disabling its nuclear plant. On Friday, Bolton promised to North Korea that the United States will help it achieve economic prosperity like South Korea.

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