North Korea begins dismantlement of nuclear test site

ImageThe Sino Korean Friendship bridge in Dandong which connects China with North

Punggye-ri, in the northeast of the country, has been the site of all six of the North's nuclear tests.

Pompeo cast US President Donald Trump's June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un as a test of the North Korean leader's commitment to change his country's direction.

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.

Moreover, none of the tunnel entrances appear to have been permanently closed, according to 38 North.

The current whirlwind of diplomacy and negotiations will not end with "a honest and complete disarmament", but with "a reduced North Korean nuclear threat", said Thae Yong-ho, who fled his post as the North's deputy ambassador to Britain in August 2016.

Mr. Guterres also expressed hope that progress over shutting down North Korea's nuclear programme would provide an impetus to address other challenges elsewhere in the world.

If North Korea eventually decides to exclude expert groups, the decision would show Pyongyang's willingness to complete the process of dismantling the nuclear site in a "prompt" manner, Seoul's presidential office said, on the apparent logic that expert verification could delay the process.

Journalists from countries including South Korea, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the USA are expected to attend the decommissioning ceremony and will take a charter flight from Beijing to the resort town of Wonsan.

A number of buildings have been demolished at North Korea's nuclear test site, according to satellite photos made public on Monday, providing proof for the first time that work is underway to dismantle the site. Some of the rails for mining cars have also been removed.

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North Korea and South Korea will hold high-level talks on Wednesday to discuss steps needed to uphold the pledge to denuclearise the Korean peninsula, South Korea said.

"It's nothing but a show to destroy evidence of previous nuclear tests", said Chun Young-woo, former national security adviser for conservative President Lee Myung-bak.

"North Korea has a very extensive program".

The analysis was made public before North Korea holds a ceremony for dismantling the Punggye-ri site between May 23 and May 25, depending on weather conditions, in the presence of global media. And much it is a "deal" the US likely could have gotten many times over recent years or decades.

Kim previous year oversaw a string of missile and nuclear tests, drawing the ire of the global community.

Last month, Pompeo became the first known United States official to meet with Kim, where he helped lay the groundwork for the upcoming meeting with Trump.

But since the Winter Olympics in the South, Pyongyang and Washington have agreed to their unprecedented meeting.

The North has vowed to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its 28,500 troops from South Korea and the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan.

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