North Korea outlined its plans to dismantle nuclear test site on Saturday on its state-run media, The Huffington Post reports. Upholding its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests, North Korea said the test site will be shut down sometime between May 23 and 25, depending on the weather.
The statement gave more details on the “technical measures” North Korea would take to dismantle the site. Korean Central New Agency (KCNA) said the dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site would involve collapsing all tunnels with explosions, blocking entrances, and removing observation facilities, research building and security posts.
“The Nuclear Weapon Institute and other concerned institutions are taking technical measures for dismantling the northern nuclear test ground … in order to ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test,” KCNA said.
According to CNN, this announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs comes a day after Pyongyang pledged to stop unannounced missile tests and other activities that put flights at risk.
In addition to promising to end unannounced missile testing, North Korea said its “national nuclear arms program was complete.”
To make the dismantlement more transparent, KCNA said that it will invite international journalists from the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, Russia and China to conduct “on-the-spot coverage,” CNN reports.
After monumental talks last month between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s presidential office announced that Kim planned to close down the nuclear test site in May.
South Korean officials also said North Korea would invite experts from the United States and South Korea to the shutdown of the nuclear site, but there was no mention of this in the statement from KCNA, HuffPost reports. Moon had also asked the United Nations last month to help verify the shutdown of the site.
Upon Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s return on Friday from North Korea, with three American prisoners that had been released from North Korea’s custody, Pompeo told reporters: “We had good conversations, substantive conversations that involved deep complex challenges.”
Pompeo said that any deal that is reached with North Korea must include a “robust verification program” to ensure it complies, adding that the Trump administration is focused on making sure “we [don’t] end up where we were before” in the talks with North Korea, CNN reports.
Pompeo had previously met with Kim prior to his confirmation as Secretary of State to discuss a possible meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump and negotiations regarding North Korea’s nuclear program.
Trump recently announced that he will be meeting with Kim on June 12 in Singapore, making it the first-ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, HuffPost reports.