North Korea to finish dismantling nuclear test site 'within two weeks'

Pompeo says US ready to provide N Korea with assurances if it denuclearises

North Korea to finish dismantling nuclear test site 'within two weeks'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has taken a series of steps this year to ease tensions with the U.S. and he is set to meet U.S. President Donald Trump for historic talks next month in Singapore.

A ceremony for the dismantling of the facility has been scheduled between May 23-25, Pyongyang's foreign ministry said, according to the official KCNA news agency.

The test tunnels would be blown up, blocking their entries, the statement said.

North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of "denuclearization" that bears no resemblance to the American definition.

But sceptics warn that Pyongyang has yet to make any public commitment to give up its arsenal, which includes missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in 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 last month.

Kim has declared the development of the North's nuclear force complete and that it had no further need for the site.

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The North said it plans to invite journalists from the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and Britain to inspect the process.

"The DPRK will, also in the future, promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighbouring countries and the worldwide society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and over the globe", the North Korean foreign ministry statement carried by KCNA said Saturday.

"From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)", KCNA said at the time.

This will uphold its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests, state media said on Saturday.

North Korea has invited the outside world to witness the dismantling of its nuclear facilities before.

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. South Korea, which has played the role of mediator to set up the meeting, has said Kim has genuine interest in relinquishing his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits.

Not only was it later revealed North Korea was secretly enriching uranium, but the rogue nation conducted its second nuclear test less than one year later in May 2009.

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