North Korea details plans to dismantle nuke test site

FILE- In this June 27, 2008 file image from TV, the demolition of the 60-foot-tall cooling tower at its main reactor complex in Yongbyon North Korea. North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday May 12, 2018, it will hold a "ceremony" for the dismantling of its nuclear test site on May 23-25 in what would be a dramatic but symbolic event to set up the summit meeting between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump scheduled for next month. (AP Photo/APTN, File)

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea has scheduled the dismantlement of its nuclear bomb test site for sometime between May 23 and 25 in order to uphold its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests, the country’s state media reported on Saturday a month ahead of a historic summit.

The official Korean Central News Agency said dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear test ground would involve collapsing all of its tunnels with explosions, blocking its entrances, and removing all observation facilities, research buildings, and security posts.

“The Nuclear Weapon Institute and other concerned institutions are taking technical measures for dismantling the northern nuclear test ground…in order to ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test,” KCNA said.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will hold talks in Singapore on June 12, the first-ever meeting between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader.

Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that North Korea can look forward to “a future brimming with peace and prosperity” if it agrees to quickly give up its nuclear weapons.

Trump welcomed the North Korean announcement. “North Korea has announced that they will dismantle Nuclear Test Site this month, ahead of the big Summit Meeting on June 12th,” he tweeted. “Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture! Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!”

South Korea’s presidential office echoed the sentiment yesterday, saying it shows Pyongyang’s willingness to denuclearize through actions beyond words.

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