SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea said Saturday it will disassemble its nuclear test site in less than two weeks, in a dramatic event that would set up Kim Jong Un's summit with President Donald Trump next month. Trump welcomed the "gracious gesture".
In a state-led statement, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that all tunnels in the country's northeastern provincial site would be destroyed by explosions, observation and research facilities and ground guards
Kim had already met with South Korean President Moon at the end of May Jae-in plans announced last month to close the test site. Analysts say the closure of the site is important, but not a significant step towards complete denuclearization.
"A Nuclear Test Site Ceremony is now scheduled for May 23 to 25," depending on weather conditions. The Foreign Ministry's statement states that journalists from the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and the UK are being invited to witness dismantlement.
The ministry said the North will continue to promote "close contacts and dialogue with neighbors countries and international society to secure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and around the world."
Trump, in one Tweet on Saturday, North Korea thanked for its plan to dismantle the nuclear test site and called it "a very smart and friendly gesture!"
Following the Moon-Kim meeting, Moon's office said Kim was ready to trial the international experts to reveal, but the statement of the North on Saturday was not correct
South Korea had no immediate answer to the statement.
The announcement of the North comes a few days after Washington announced that the historic summit between Kim and Trump will take place in Singapore on June 12]. South Korea has said Kim has a genuine interest in selling his nuclear weapons for economic benefits , However, there is still some doubt as to whether Kim would ever be willing to give up completely on the weapons he probably considers his only survival guarantee.
During their meeting in a border village, Moon and Kim vaguely promised to work towards the "completion" of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but no references to verifications or timetables.
For decades, North Korea has promoted a concept of "denuclearization" that bears no resemblance to the American definition. The North has vowed to advance nuclear development unless Washington removes its 28,500 troops from South Korea and the nuclear shield that defends South Korea and Japan.
Some experts believe that Kim might try to postpone the process or seek a deal to remove his intercontinental ballistic missile, but retain some of his arsenal of shorter range in return for a reduced US military presence in the south. This could satisfy Trump, but undermine the alliance between Washington and Seoul.
Kim declared his nuclear forces over in December after North Korea's strongest nuclear test to date was conducted in September and three intercontinental ballistic missile test flights reached the American mainland.
North Korea announced at a ruling party meeting last month that it suspends all tests on nuclear facilities and intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as the plan to close down the nuclear test site.
Kim said during the meeting that the nuclear test site was "The mission had come to an end" because the North had developed medium-range nuclear missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles and other slings.
The North also said for the first time at the meeting that he had been "sub-critical". Nuclear tests. These relate to experiments with a subcritical mass of nuclear materials that allow scientists to study the performance and safety of weapons without triggering a nuclear chain reaction and explosion.
North Korea's indication of such activity is intended to convey that even without underground testing, the country wants to maintain its nuclear arsenal and at the same time be a "responsible" steward of those weapons, said Andrea Berger, a senior analyst at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
Still Closing the Subterranean Test Site This could be a useful precedent for Washington and Seoul if they continue to negotiate nuclear dealings with Pyongyang, analysts said.
"After North Korea has accepted in principle that agreements should be reviewed, US negotiators should consider them to be the standard for a later agreement," said Adam Mount, a high-ranking defense analyst with the Federation of American Scientists. "It will make it harder for Kim Jong Un to refuse inspections after he has put them on the table."
North Korea has invited the outside world to witness the dismantling of its nuclear facilities. In June 2008, international broadcasters were allowed to signal the demolition of a cooling tower at the Nyongbyon reactor site, one year after the North reached an agreement with the US and four other nations to deactivate its nuclear facilities in return for a roughly one-year aid package $ 400 Million
But in September 2008, the North declared that it would resume plutonium reprocessing and complained that Washington did not fulfill its promise to remove the country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
George W. Bush removed North Korea from the list in October 2008 after the country agreed to continue blocking its nuclear power plant. However, a recent attempt by Bush to conclude an agreement to phase out North Korea's nuclear weapons program collapsed in December when the North refused to accept verification methods proposed by the US.
The North Conducted Its Second Nuclear Test in May 2009
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