Donald Trump hails Kim's decision to dismantle Nuclear Test site

Donald Trump hails Kim's decision to dismantle Nuclear Test site

Continuing with its diplomatic opening, North Korea on Saturday, May 12, said it will start dismantling its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in less than two weeks in an event where foreign journalists will also be present.

According to North Korean state media, the regime's Foreign Ministry has announced that it will demolish the underground tunnels at the site using explosives, as well as dismantle the buildings at the facility, which is located near the northeastern village of Punggye-ri.

North Korea has also said it plans to invite journalists to inspect the denuclearization process.

Following the Moon-Kim summit, Moon's office said Kim was willing to disclose the process to global experts, but the North's statement on Saturday did not include any mention about allowing experts on the site.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has met twice with Kim in China over the past two months, including a two-day meeting this week, in what is seen as a push to ensure Beijing's interests are upheld in any settlement between North Korea and the U.S.

There, reporters would board a charter train to the nuclear test ground in an "uninhabited deep mountain area".

South Korea's presidential office echoed the sentiment on Sunday, saying it shows Pyongyang's willingness to denuclearise through actions beyond words.

A ceremony for the dismantling of the facility reportedly has been scheduled between May 23-25.

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North Korea has declared its nuclear forces complete late past year after its most powerful nuclear test to date in September and the launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles that experts say are capable of hitting most, if not all, of the continental United States. The move would underscore the North's commitment to "completely" give up its nuclear program.

But that deal, reached during the so-called six-party talks, eventually collapsed after Pyongyang refused to accept US -proposed verification methods.

The incident happened following the September 3, 2017 detonation of a nuclear bomb estimated at around 100 kilotons, which is 10 times stronger than any of the previous five tests conducted by North Korea.

Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States and a leading expert on North Korea's nuclear program, said collapsing the Punggye-ri tunnels would be "a big and positive step", given his belief that North Korea still required more nuclear and missile tests to reach the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Still, the closure of the underground testing site could be a useful precedent for Washington and Seoul as they proceed with the nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang, analysts say. "It will make it more hard for Kim Jong Un to deny inspections now that he has placed them on the table".

The rogue nation will start to take the facility apart on May 23, with global media watching.

North Korea continues to follow through with its efforts towards peace.