North Korea Announces Plan to Dismantle Nuclear Site

North Korea's last nuclear test triggered an earthquake

He said on April 20 that his nation already had "completed its mission" to test its weapons capability.

North Korea has set the date to begin shutting down a major nuclear test site as it continues to pursue improved relations with the world, earning thanks on Twitter from President Donald Trump for "a very smart and gracious gesture!"

"A ceremony for dismantling the nuclear test ground is now scheduled between May 23 and 25", depending on weather conditions, the Foreign Ministry's statement said.

Above ground North Korea will block all entries to the site, and remove all guard posts, observation sites and research institutes, the report said.

There, newsmen will board a charter train to the nuclear test ground in an "uninhabited deep mountain area".

Located in mountainous terrain in the northeast of the country, Punggye-ri is less than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from China.

The nuclear facility was hidden in Mount Mantap and suffered multiple landslides following the bomb tests. Kim was quoted by KCNA as telling the party that its mission has "come to an end".

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

The North Korean Foreign Ministry affirms that, following the ceremony, the site will be "completely closed".

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Trump is expected to push North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons at the meeting in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions and United States assistance in rebuilding Pyongyang's ailing economy. Two of the North Korean missiles passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido. In another sign of improving relations, North Korea this week released three USA citizens who had been imprisoned in the country. "We look forward to positive outcomes of the meeting".

Referring to the move, Trump tweeted that the North Korea planned dismantling was "ahead of the big Summit Meeting on June 12th".

Speaking Friday, Pompeo said any agreement with North Korea would have to include a "robust verification program" to ensure that Pyongyang complies.

In this June 27, 2008 file image from TV, the demolition of the 60-foot-tall cooling tower at its main reactor complex in Yongbyon North Korea.

Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month affirmed their commitment to the goal of "realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula" at a summit in the Demilitarized Zone that divides their countries.

Kim denied claims that North Korea is closing down "an unusable test site", according to presidential office.

But that deal, reached during the so-called six-party talks, eventually collapsed after Pyongyang refused to accept USA -proposed verification methods.

Trump appears to be optimistic with North Korea as he personally welcomed home the freed American detainees early Thursday.

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