North Korea first test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4 prompted the Pentagon to assure it can defend the United States against the growing threat © KCNA VIA KNS/AFP STR
North Korea first test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4 prompted the Pentagon to assure it can defend the United States against the growing threat © KCNA VIA KNS/AFP STRar 

North Korea has begun dismantling its nuclear test site ahead of a historic meeting between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, a US monitor said Tuesday.

Pyongyang said at the weekend it will “completely” destroy the Punggye-ri test site, in a ceremony scheduled between May 23-25 in front of invited foreign media.

Advertise With Us

The announcement was welcomed by Washington and Seoul.

However, no observers from international atomic monitoring agencies, according to reports, have been invited.

This has raised concerns over the openness of the process.

Punggye-ri, in the northeast of the country, has been the site of all six of the North’s nuclear tests.

The respected 38 North website said Tuesday that satellite images dated May 7 showed “the first definitive evidence that dismantlement of the test site was already well under way”.

The monitoring group said several key operational buildings as well as smaller sheds had been razed and rails connecting the tunnels to their waste piles were removed.

“It is conceivably for a future camera position to record the closure of the West Portal,” the group said.