North Korea nuclear site to be dismantled - US monitor

Bolton Strong prospects for North Korea

US researchers say recent satellite imagery shows that North Korea has begun dismantling facilities at its nuclear test site. This is stated in a report published on Monday on the 38 NorthAmerican site of the US-based research group at the Johns Hopkins University.

A number of buildings have been demolished at North Korea's nuclear test site, according to satellite photos made public on Monday, providing proof for the first time that work is underway to dismantle the site.

On Tuesday, South Korea's military said North Korea was moving ahead with plans to close its nuclear test site next week, an assessment backed by US researchers who say satellite images show the North has begun dismantling facilities at the site. The office reported that the exact date of the ceremony will depend on the weather conditions.

On Tuesday, North Korea invited eight South Korean journalists to witness that event, according to Yonhap news agency.

Kim's latest diplomatic overture has seen him hold a summit with the South's President Moon Jae-in and travel twice in less than two months to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The progress over shutting down of North Korea's nuclear programme would provide an impetus to address other challenges elsewhere in the world, the UN Secretary General added. The North has been vowing to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its 28,500 troops from South Korea and the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan.

The newspaper said the Punggye-ri site, situated near Mount Mantap in northeastern North Korea, was "wrecked" beyond fix by a landslide.

Satellite photos from last month showed signs of construction at the North's Yongbyon nuclear facility.

The administration of George W. Bush removed North Korea from the list in October 2008 after the country agreed to continue disabling its nuclear plant.

Washington is seeking the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" of the North and stresses that verification will be key.

The North went on to conduct its second nuclear test in May 2009.

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