North Korea to hold 'ceremony' for dismantling nuclear test site

US to help N. Korea economically if it gets rid of nuclear weapons

North Korea will publicly dismantle the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in the next two weeks, according to state media.

"The DPRK will, also in the future, promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighbouring countries and the global society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and over the globe", the North Korean foreign ministry statement carried by KCNA said Saturday.

North Korea said late Saturday that it is taking "technical measures" for dismantling its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, and will hold a "ceremony" between May 23 and May 25, inviting foreign journalists to mark the event in a "transparent manner".

The North Korean leader revealed during the summit that his country plans to publicly close the test site, announcing experts and journalists from foreign countries will be invited.

Local press, as well as reporters from the U.S., U.K., South Korea, China, and Russian Federation will be invited to witness the closure of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site.

The North Korea-watching 38 North blog said on April 30 that synthetic aperture radar data of the test site corroborates Kim's statement that two tunnels remain viable.

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During their summit at a border truce village, Moon and Kim vaguely promised to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, but made no references to verification or timetables.

Three US prisoners were returned to Washington by Pyongyang last week, with Trump saying the "denuclearisation of North Korea would be his proudest achievement".

The announcement comes days after Washington announced that the historic summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump will be held June 12 in Singapore. "It will make it more hard for Kim Jong Un to deny inspections now that he has placed them on the table".

Tensions had been mounting for years as Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes saw it subjected to multiple rounds of increasingly strict sanctions by the UN Security Council, the US, EU, South Korea and others, and Trump last year threatened the North with "fire and fury".

"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test". For instance, Kim's father Kim Jong Il invited foreign journalists to watch the destruction of a cooling tower at the Yongbyon reactor, where the North produced plutonium, in the summer of 2008.

The North went on to conduct its second nuclear test in May 2009.

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