The DPRK began dismantling the nuclear test site, Pungere media


Ors simply speculate that base was unusable after last and most potent nuclear test last September.

North Korea said Saturday it will dismantle its nuclear test site in less than two weeks, a dramatic event prior to leader Kim Jong Un's summit with U.S. President Donald Trump next month. Last month, President Trump called the North's decision to suspend missile and nuclear tests "very good news". As one of the highest ranking North Korean defectors, Thae frequently rails against Kim and is considered an ardent hawk on North Korea's conciliatory overtures, even going as far as saying "Kim Jong Un's days are numbered".

The defector said the regime might be looking into tourism projects near coastal areas and eventually seek joint economic projects with South Korea.

The meeting will focus on plans to implement a declaration that emerged from an April 27 inter-Korea summit, including promises to formally end the Koran War and pursue "complete denuclearisation", the South's unification ministry, which handles ties with the North, said on Tuesday.

North Korea's foreign ministry has said it will invite foreign journalist to witness the decommissioning of the site at Punggye-ri.

"If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends", he said Friday. The office reported that the exact date of the ceremony will depend on the weather conditions. The U.S. -set deadline for denuclearization is 2020. But the same official backtracked and later clarified, "I am not in a position to know the contents of the North-U.S. summit and do not know whether the nuclear umbrella and deployment of strategic assets will be discussed between North Korea and the United States".

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Dialogue brokered by South Korea has seen US-North Korea relations go from trading personal insults and threats of war previous year to a summit between Kim and Trump which will be held in Singapore on June 12.

Mr Kim declared his nuclear force as complete in December, following North Korea's most powerful nuclear test to date in September and three flight tests of ICBMs created to reach the United States mainland.

But US intelligence officials have said it remains usable and could be reactivated "in a relatively short period of time" if it was closed.

"We hope the sound of the dynamite blowing up the tunnels at Punggye-ri will be the first salute in our journey towards a nuclear-free Korean peninsula", the South's presidential spokesman said.

The site analyzed images which show significant changes that have been made at the location which are consistent with decommissioning. In his April 20 statement announcing the Punggye-ri closing, Kim said the country's efforts to build a warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile had progressed to the point where tests were no longer necessary.