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North Korea Starts to Dismantle Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site

North Korea Starts to Dismantle Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site

A photo released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state news agency of North Korea, shows a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea held on under the guidance of Kim Jong Un, chairman of the WPK and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 9, 2018.

North Korea has started the dismantlement of facilities at its only-know Punggye-ri nuclear test site, media reported citing satellite images from May 7. Destruction of the test site in a verifiable manner is an indication of the firm resolve not to carry out further testing of its nuclear devices which has been a bone of contention between the North and some regional and global powers.

Next week, the regime plans to dismantle the facility in front of foreign journalists. "Commercial satellite imagery from May 7 provided the first definitive evidence that dismantlement of the test site was already well underway", USA researchers affiliated with the North Korea-monitoring site 38 North reported Monday evening.

"I think they're done testing".

Trump is expected to push North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons at the meeting in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions and U.S. assistance in rebuilding Pyongyang's ailing economy.

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

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A statement issued during worldwide negotiations with North Korea in 2005 over its nuclear weapons development said the 'United States affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade (North Korea) with nuclear or conventional weapons'.

"The prospect for North Korea is for it to become a normal nation, to behave and interact with the rest of the world the way South Korea does", he said.

In their joint statement released after the summit, Moon and Kim declared that there would be "no more war" on the Korean Peninsula and committed to a goal of "complete denuclearization". But we are also very much interested in operationalizing the commitment as quickly as possible, ' Bolton said.

The recent diplomatic frenzy comes after tensions on and around the peninsula had been mounting for years as Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes attracted increasingly strict sanctions by the UN Security Council, the US, EU, South Korea and others. In 2008, worldwide journalists looked on as a water cooling tower at a facility called Yongbyon was destroyed.

More explosions would be unnecessarily risky, but there are steps North Korea could take to make the shutdown more credible and safe, said Suh Kune-yull, professor of nuclear energy systems engineering at Seoul National University.

In her reporting at the time, CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour said, "They fired a warning flare and then in three minutes the whole thing came tumbling down in a massive cloud of smoke".