North Korea to Destroy Nuclear Test Site before US Summit

North Korea to Destroy Nuclear Test Site before US Summit

North Korea says it will hold a "ceremony" for the dismantling of its nuclear test site on May 23-25 in what would be a dramatic but symbolic event to set up leader Kim Jong Un's summit with President Donald Trump next month.

North Korea has scheduled the dismantlement of its nuclear test site for sometime between May 23 and 25 depending on weather conditions in order to uphold its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests, state media said on Saturday.

"In accordance with the decision of the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), the Nuclear Weapon Institute and other concerned institutions are taking technical measures to dismantle the northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK in order to ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un previously had announced the conclusion of North Korea's nuclear testing program and the intended shuttering of the Punggye-ri complex.

Kim last month said the site, Punggye-ri, built in a secluded mountain valley northeast of Pyongyang and the site for all six of the regime's nuclear blasts, would be shuttered and further tests had been suspended, KCNA reported April 21.

Until recently, Mr Kim and Mr Trump had been trading personal insults and threats, heightening tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme.

Washington is seeking the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" of the North and stresses that verification will be key. Amid concerns that North Korea will demand the U.S. withdraw its troops from neighboring South Korea, Kang emphasized that the U.S. military presence there must be "a matter for the U.S. -ROK alliance first and foremost", using an acronym for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

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North Korea's climb down on nuclear weapons comes after Trump determinedly maintained a raft of economic sanctions against the country. It will be the first time a sitting United States president has ever met a North Korean leader.

Trump and South Korea's President are on account of meet on Could 22 on the White Home.

"We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" he tweeted.

David Beasley said he had enjoyed unprecedented access to the secretive state, telling BBC radio that North Korea's leaders had a "sense of optimism".

David Beasley spent two days in the capital, Pyongyang, and two outside it, accompanied by government minders. But is there a hunger issue, is there under-nutrition?

"There is a sense of turning a new page in history", he said.

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