Seoul Hails Upcoming Closure of North Korean Nuclear Facility
AP Photo / Airbus Defense & Space/38 North/Pleiades CNES/Spot Image Asia & Pacific06:11 13.05.2018Get short URL
SEOUL (Sputnik) – The South Korean government has welcomed Pyongyang’s plans to dismantle its only known nuclear test site Punggye-ri, the country’s presidential office said on Sunday.
“North Korea has announce that it intends to close the Punggye-ri nuclear polygon in the period from [May] 23 to 25. We welcome this,” the presidential office said in a statement.
On Saturday, the North Korean state media reported that the ruling party decided to dismantle the test site on May 23-25. The decision comes ahead of historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, slated for June 12. The US president has already welcomed North Korea’s plans to close Punggye-ri, calling it a “smart and gracious gesture.”
The North Korean leader announced the decommissioning of the Punggye-ri site during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in late April. In his announcement, Kim explained that Pyongyang’s pursuit for nuclear weapons was complete so the test site was no longer needed.
Pyongyang conducted its last nuclear test in September. The international community has repeatedly condemned North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests and imposed sanctions on Pyongyang to curb its nuclear program.