North Korea dismantling nuclear test site: Satellite images

People watch a TV screen reporting that North Korea will dismantle nuke test site during a news programme at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul. Ahn Young-joon  AP

People watch a TV screen reporting that North Korea will dismantle nuke test site during a news programme at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul. Ahn Young-joon  AP

Several key operational support buildings outside the north, west and south portals were razed and some rails for mining carts have apparently been removed, 38 North said. Moreover, none of the tunnel entrances appear to have been permanently closed, according to 38 North. The authors speculate that may be because they'll be blown up in front of members of the global media later this month.

The North also proposed high-level talks on May 16 to follow up on pledges to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, South Korea's Unification Ministry said on Tuesday.

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.

Trump, in a tweet Saturday, thanked North Korea for its plan to dismantle the nuclear test site, calling it "a very smart and gracious gesture!"

North Korea's move comes ahead of Kim Jong-un's much-anticipated summit with Donald Trump in Singapore on 12 June.

Kim previous year oversaw a string of missile and nuclear tests, drawing the ire of the global community.

Days before his historic summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month, Kim announced plans to close his Punggye-ri testing ground in the country's mountainous northeast.

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Bolton said the USA side also will discuss not just North Korea's nuclear and missile programs but its chemical and biological weapons arsenal as well.

North Korea said Saturday that it will dismantle its northeastern Punggye-ri test site between May 23 and 25 in the presence of local and worldwide media.

The North also said for the first time at the meeting that it had been conducting "subcritical" nuclear tests.

The North said it will hold a ceremony at the site next week to allow local and worldwide journalists to witness the efforts.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the global organization that keeps watch for nuclear tests, said it has yet to be invited to observe the dismantlement, Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday. And, of course, tests don't need to be underground. There were reports the site had collapsed and was unusable, but Kim himself reportedly dismissed those claims, saying "we have two more tunnels that are bigger than the existing ones and that they are in good condition".

The South Korean government, which had expected North Korea to invite nuclear experts and worldwide watchdogs for the shutdown process, said it remains to be seen whether Pyongyang maintains its stance.

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