North Korea vows to destroy its nuclear test site ahead of historic meeting with Trump
NORTH Korean dictator Kim Jong-un last night promised to shut his regime’s nuclear test site before the end of the month, just weeks ahead of his summit with Donald Trump.
The move follows intense diplomacy between the rogue state, the US and South Korea.
It also comes in the wake of claims that a large part of the underground Punggye-ri test site caved in following a test in September 2017, making it virtually unusable.
An announcement released by the country’s official news agency said: ‘The Nuclear Weapon Institute and other concerned institutions are taking technical measures for dismantling the northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) in order to ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test.’
It said the dismantling would take place between May 23 and 25 depending on weather conditions. All tunnels will be blown up, the entrances blocked, and observation facilities, research buildings and security posts removed.
The statement came hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who made a brief visit to Pyongyang last week, said America was prepared to aid economic growth in the country, if it gets rid of nuclear weapons. He said: ‘If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearise, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends.’
Mr Trump is to meet Kim Jongun in Singapore on June 12, which will be the first-ever meeting between a sitting US president and the leader of North Korea. Kim Jong-un has also released three American prisoners and held talks with South Korea’s leader Moon Jae In.
Officials in Seoul had said North Korea planned to invite experts and journalists from the US and South Korea for the shutdown of its test site.
A factor in North Korea’s nuclear weapons move could be the country’s struggle against starvation. A UN chief recently given ‘unprecedented access’ to North Korea discovered villagers using medieval farming methods to grow food.
test: A North Korean launch in 2017
PeaCe MOVe: Kim Jong-un at the launch of a test missile