US researchers say recent satellite imagery shows that North Korea has begun dismantling facilities at its nuclear test site. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States can prepare conditions for North Korean people's economic prosperity comparable to South Korea although American taxpayers' money cannot be spent on the North.
In a statement published by the Foreign Ministry on North Korea's state news agency KCNA, the country plans to shut down the test site between 23 and 25 May by using explosives to collapse the tunnels, and blocking all entrances to the site.
New commercial satellite imagery has provided the first definitive evidence that North Korea is dismantling its Punggye-ri nuclear test site ahead of a scheduled ceremony next week to mark the event, US researchers said Monday.
North Korea outlined steps Saturday to dismantle its nuclear testing site - and confirmed that worldwide journalists, including those from the United States and the United Kingdom, would be invited to watch this month as its tunnels are blown up.
What President Trump has demanded is the total elimination of the country's nuclear program - a process North Korea says is already under way.
Some key facilities remain intact and the tunnel entrances remain open, however.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (R) exchange documents during a signing ceremony near the end of their historic summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. Ors simply speculate that base was unusable after last and most potent nuclear test last September.
The reclusive state also released three USA citizens imprisoned in North Korea as newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang for a second time last week to prepare for Donald Trump's upcoming summit.More news: Governor Directs Flags To Half-Staff Tuesday For Peace Officers Memorial Day
Trump previous year threatened the North with "fire and fury".
Meanwhile, an official from Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said the country plans to ask the North to increase the number of South Korean journalists permitted to cover the event.
The North also proposed high-level talks on May 16 to follow up on pledges to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, South Korea's Unification Ministry said on Tuesday.
While South Korea's government appeared to downplay the absence of nuclear experts and global watchdogs, the U.S. and Japan stressed the need to invite them for a more verifiable process.
Satellite imagery of Punggyeri nuclear test site.
The announcement was welcomed by Washington and Seoul.
They also agreed to stop all hostile acts over "land, sea and air" and to resume family reunions on August 15.