North Korea will dismantle its Punggye-ri nuclear testing site between the 23rd and 25th of this month, the country’s foreign ministry announced in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Saturday.
The country has also reportedly begun taking “technical measures” to decommission Punggye-ri, and, due to limited space, will allow only journalists from South Korea, the U.S., the UK, and Russia to cover its dismantling.
The precise date of the ceremony will reportedly be decided by the local weather conditions.
“All international journalists will be provided with charter flight from Beijing to Wonsan, and other related steps such as opening territorial air space will be taken,” the foreign ministry statement reads, adding that “special accommodation” and a press center will be provided.
“Special charter train will be arranged from Wonsan to the northern nuclear test ground for the international journalists,” it continued.
The move will “ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test,” the statement continued.
“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,” it said.
North Korea previously committed to dismantling its “northern nuclear test ground” at the 3rd Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) on April 21.
That decision was later reiterated by South Korea’s Presidential Blue House in the days following a historic inter-Korean summit.
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, Seoul said, also informed ROK President Moon Jae-in during their talks that his country would allow international observation of the test site’s dismantling.
That international observation, Kim said, would involve foreign press and experts.
South Korean President Moon has asked the United Nations to help verify the closure of the nuclear testing site.
A joint declaration by the two Koreas released following the summit saw Pyongyang and Seoul commit to, among other things, “the common goal” of a nuclear-free peninsula through “complete denuclearization.”
The planned ceremony will come ahead of a meeting between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, set to take place in Singapore on June 12.
Featured image: Rodong Sinmun