North Korea announces dismantling of nuclear test site

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Pyongyang: North Korea announced on Saturday that it will hold a ceremony for the dismantling of its nuclear test site on May 23-25, taking a step forward towards the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

“In accordance with the decision of the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), the Nuclear Weapon Institute and other concerned institutions are taking technical measures to dismantle the northern nuclear test ground of North Korea in order to ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test,” Xinhua cited Korean Central News Agency quoting the Foreign Ministry as saying.

“A ceremony for dismantling the nuclear test ground is now scheduled between May 23 and May 25, depending on weather condition,” the statement said.

The ruling WPK said that the country will close its nuclear test ground and suspend missile tests in order to concentrate all the nation’s efforts on economic construction, during a plenary session chaired by the country’s top leader Kim Jong Un last month.

Pyongyang pledged to achieve complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula at a summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the truce village Panmunjom on April 27.

The Blue House of South Korea said on April 29 that during the summit, Kim told Moon that he will shut down the nuclear test site and show the process to the world.

Pyongyang said on Saturday that it will detonate explosives in all tunnels of the test ground, completely block entrances, remove all observation facilities, research institutes and structures of guard units at the test-facility.

“In parallel with dismantlement of the nuclear test ground, guards and researchers will be withdrawn and the surrounding area of the test ground be completely closed,” the statement said.

Foreign journalists will be allowed to conduct on-location coverage, which the Foreign Ministry says will show transparency.

“In due consideration of small space of the test ground, journalists from other countries will be confined to those from China, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom and South Korea,” said the statement.

“All international journalists will be provided with a charter flight from Beijing to Wonsan,” it said.

Saturday’s announcement came ahead of a scheduled summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.

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