President Trump and North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un will meet in Singapore next month for a historic summit. In the meantime, North Korea will be blowing up their tunnels used for nuclear bomb testing in the next two weeks.
In a statement carried by state media, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that all of the tunnels at the country’s northeastern testing ground will be destroyed by the explosion and that observation and research facilities and ground-based guard units will also be removed.
“Dismantlement of the nuclear test ground will be done in the following sequence-making all tunnels of the test ground collapse by explosion; completely blocking entries; removing all observation facilities, research institutes and structures of guard units on the ground,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the official Korean Central News Agency.
“In parallel with dismantlement of the nuclear test ground, guards and researchers will be withdrawn and the surrounding area of the test ground be completely closed,” the statement said.
Kim had already revealed plans to shut down the test site by the end of May during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month.
The North will invite journalists from the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and Britain to witness the dismantling process.
“In accordance with the decision of the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Nuclear Weapon Institute and other concerned institutions are taking technical measures to dismantle the northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK in order to ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test,” the statement said.
“A ceremony for dismantling the nuclear test ground is now scheduled between May 23 and May 25, depending on weather conditions,” the statement continued.
The journalists will be provided with a charter flight from Beijing to the North Korean coastal city of Wonsan, from where they will travel by train to the test site, the statement said. North Korea is only allowing journalists from Russia, China, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and the United States to attend due to “space constraints.”
The ministry said the North will continue to “promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighboring countries and the international society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and over the globe.”
Following the Moon-Kim summit, Moon’s office said Kim was willing to disclose the process to international experts, but the North’s statement Saturday didn’t include any mention about allowing experts on the site.
South Korea had no immediate response to the statement.