May 31, 2023

Why North Korea must allow international experts into Punggye-ri

Last month’s demolition ceremony leaves many questions unanswered

North Korean state news agency KCNA announced at the end of April that after six nuclear tests, North Korea had met its objectives and would no longer be needing the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

Dismantlement of the site started almost immediately even earlier than officially announced. On May 2 the U.S. intelligence community observed that cabling was removed from the site which is critical for obtaining diagnostic information for analysis of a nuclear test. On May 7 my colleagues at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey noticed that a heavy truck was present at the South portal that may have removed technical equipment from the test site.