Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

N Korea dismantling nuclear test site: Satellite images

N Korea dismantling nuclear test site: Satellite images

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

North Korea, which is believed to manage a vast subterranean network in part to frustrate USA and South Korean spies and military planners, probably has other locations that could house tests.

"It is too early to predict (with one month left before the summit), but I think the North will move toward sufficient, verifiable, irreversible dismantling, which is to sufficiently reduce threats from nuclear weapons, rather than seek complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (CVID)", he told reporters.

The Punggye-ri site in the northeast of the country was used for all of the North's six nuclear tests and lies deep within mountains.

Some in the global community believe Kim's commitment to close Punggye-ri is a welcome development.

"Commercial satellite imagery from may 7 shows that the dismantling of the test site has already begun".

The ventilation system for the tunnel system under Mount Mantap, which covers the testing facilities, also was apparently being broken down, the report added.

A ceremony will also be held between May 23 and 25 to mark the closure.

Satellite images examined by American researchers appear to show building demolitions, removal of railways, and overturned mining carts at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Korea.

They will then go by train to the nuclear site, then return on May 26 or May 27, the South Korean ministry said in a statement, citing a North Korean notice. Ors simply speculate that base was unusable after last and most potent nuclear test last September.

Pompeo - who recently returned from another set of meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un - said the benefits North Korea can gain by scrapping its nuclear ambitions should be obvious.

"This would be a preliminary step toward complete denuclearization", Moon said Monday, according to a transcript provided by his office.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a historic summit in April, at which the North and South vowed to work together to formally end the Korean War.

Over the years peaceful gestures made by the North Korean regime with respect to its nuclear program have not been particularly reliable. Pyongyang later announced it would destroy its only known nuclear test site.

Gleason says they now "have been reunited with their families".

The two Koreas are due to meet for a high-level meeting on Wednesday to discuss follow-up measures from their summit last month, Seoul's unification ministry said.

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