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

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North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that all of the tunnels at the country's northeastern testing ground will be destroyed by explosion, and that observation and research facilities and ground-based guard units will also be removed.

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".

Reporters from China, Russia, the United States, Britain and South Korea would be allowed to "conduct on-the-spot coverage in order to show in a transparent manner the dismantlement of the northern nuclear test ground", the foreign ministry statement said.

All worldwide journalists will be provided with a charter flight into Wonsan, a port city in eastern North Korea, from Beijing, KCNA said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides guidance with Ri Hong Sop (2nd L) and Hong Sung Mu (R) on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 3, 2017.

But sceptics warn that Pyongyang has yet to make any public commitment to give up its arsenal, which includes missiles capable of reaching the United States.

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"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test". South Korea, which has played the role of mediator to set up the meeting, has said Kim has genuine interest in relinquishing his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits.

"From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)", KCNA said at the time.

The test tunnels would be blown up, blocking their entries, the statement said.

In June 2008, global broadcasters were allowed to air the demolishing of a cooling tower at the Nyongbyon reactor site, a year after the North reached an agreement with the US and four other nations to disable its nuclear facilities in return for an aid package worth about $400 million.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that Kim would finally hold a highly-teased meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore on 12 June.

Not only was it later revealed North Korea was secretly enriching uranium, but the rogue nation conducted its second nuclear test less than one year later in May 2009.

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