North Korea Outlines Plan to Dismantle Nuclear Testing Site

FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (inside a vehicle) bids farewell to South Korean President Moon Jae-in as he leaves after a farewell ceremony at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters

North Korea outlined steps Saturday to dismantle its nuclear testing site — and confirmed that international journalists, including those from the United States and the United Kingdom, would be invited to watch this month as its tunnels are blown up.

The announcement, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as reported by state news agency KCNA, came a day after Pyongyang pledged no longer to carry out unannounced missile tests or other activities that put flights at risk, according to a United Nations aviation agency.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un previously announced the conclusion of North Korea’s nuclear testing program and the intended shuttering of the Punggye-ri complex. He said April 20 that his nation already had “completed its mission” to test its weapons capability.

The statement Saturday gave greater details of the “technical measures” North Korea would take to dismantle the test site and “ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test.”

US President Donald Trump expressed thanks to North Korea on Saturday evening, characterizing the announcement as a “very smart and gracious gesture” ahead of next month’s nuclear summit in Singapore.

International journalists will be invited to conduct “on-the-spot coverage in order to show in a transparent manner” how the nuclear site is being put out of use, with a dismantlement “ceremony” scheduled for as early as May 23, depending on weather, the news agency said.

Since space is limited, only journalists from China, Russia, South Korea, the United States and the United Kingdom will be allowed access, according to KCNA.

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SOURCE: CNN, Laura Smith-Spark