North Korea Appears to Be Shutting Down Its Nuke-Testing Site

North Korea Nuclear Test Site

North Korea Nuclear Test Site

Moon welcomed Kim's plans to publicly blow up North Korea's nuclear test facility.

Pyongyang said last week it would dismantle the site on May 23-25.

"It is regrettable that North Korea did not invite nuclear experts to the destruction of the test site", it said in an editorial.

What President Trump has demanded is the total elimination of the country's nuclear program - a process North Korea says is already under way. This is the first time that the USA government mentioned a specific place in its territory to store North Korea's nuclear facilities and materials to be dismantled.

Moon's office previously said Kim told Moon during their April 27 summit that he would allow not only outside journalists but also experts to watch the dismantling of the Punggy-ri test site.

The dismantling will come ahead of a historic summit between Kim Jong-un and Mr. Trump next month in Singapore. The sixth and most recent test took place in September 2017.

The meeting announced Tuesday comes ahead of the June 12 summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

South Korea's Defense Ministry said it is monitoring the developments at Punggye-ri closely, deputy spokesman Lee Jin-woo said at a news conference.

Satellite imagery of Punggyeri nuclear test site.

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"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.

Pyongyang's pledge could open the way for airlines to route flights through North Korean airspace.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that North Korea will receive sanctions relief should they follow through with total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Last November, according to CNBC, North Korea unveiled its largest and most powerful rocket, the Hwasong-15 or KN-22, in its third intercontinental ballistic missile test.

After Saturday's announcement, President TrumpDonald John TrumpRomney denounces pastor slated to speak at USA embassy in Jerusalem Pentagon finds problems with Kushner-backed health program: report Apple CEO Tim Cook praises Parkland, "Me Too" activists in commencement speech MORE thanked North Korea for its "gracious gesture".

Thae emphasized that Kim would demand an assurance of safety against any attacks on North Korea by other countries in return of denuclearisation.

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.

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

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