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NKorea pledges to dismantle nuclear site in May ceremony

North Korea says it will begin dismantling its nuclear test site in less than two weeks in a ceremony attended by foreign journalists.

Pyongyang said it was taking “technical measures” to carry out the process between 23-25 May, North Korean state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

Scientists previously said the site may have partially collapsed in September.

The move is due to take place three weeks before US President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In April, South Korean officials said Mr Kim had stated he “would carry out the closing of the nuclear test site in May”, adding that nuclear experts from South Korea and the US would be invited to watch.

Their comments came after talks between Mr Kim and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

However there was no mention of allowing foreign experts access to the site in Saturday’s statement from North Korea.
What will the pledged ceremony include?
The dismantling of the Punggye-ri site, the exact date of which will depend on weather conditions, will involve the collapsing of all tunnels using explosives and the removal of all observation facilities, research buildings and security posts.

Journalists from South Korea, China, the US, the UK and Russia will be asked to attend to witness the event.

North Korea said the intention was to allow “not only the local press but also journalists of other countries to conduct on-the-spot coverage in order to show in a transparent manner the dismantlement of the northern nuclear test ground”.

The reason officials gave for limiting the number of countries invited to send journalists was due to the “small space of the test ground… located in the uninhabited deep mountain area”.

What do we know about the test site?
Situated in mountainous terrain in the north-east, the Punggye-ri site is thought to be the North’s main nuclear facility.

Nuclear tests have taken place in a system of tunnels dug below Mount Mantap, near the Punggye-ri site.-BBC

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