Will Punggye-ri demolition be 1st step to complete denuclearization?

May 25, 2018, 08:39 am

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A satellite image taken on May 21 shows North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Choi Tae-beom 

The South Korean government has come forward Thursday to set out measures so that North Korea's dismantling of its nuclear test site can become a catalyst for the North Korea-US summit talks. 

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae held a permanent committee meeting of the National Security Commission (NSC), chaired by National Security Office Director Chung Eui-yong, to assess the planned dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site by North Korea and to discuss follow-up measures. 

After the committee meeting, Cheong Wa Dae said, "North Korea's demolition of its nuclear test site is a first step to complete denuclearization." It also said the NSC members discussed various ways to support the North Korea-US summit.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Noh Kyu-duk described the North's dismantlement of Punggye-ri nuclear test site as a first step in its denuclearization process. "We hope this will provide an opportunity for the North's complete denuclearization," the spokesperson said. 

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Wednesday after meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, "I hope the event will not end up being just a show, but will mark a step toward denuclearization."

The dismantlement of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site ahead of the historic North Korea-US summit is expected to be the first tangible measure toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 

The journalists from South Korea, the United States, Britain, China and Russia, who visited North Korea to cover the demolition of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, arrived at the site and conducted on-the-spot coverage of the event. 

North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site is a place where the North has conducted six nuclear tests from 2006 to 2017. The shutdown of the site is a tangible and symbolic demonstration of its commitment to actively seek a concrete roadmap for denuclearization. The United States is now pressured to offer active compensation for denuclearization. 

However, some say that even if all the tunnels of the nuclear test site are blown up, North Korea will be able to dig it again whenever it decides to reuse the site. The point is that it all depends on North Korea's sincerity and willingness to denuclearize.

"North Korea expressed its intention to denuclearize and even destroyed a cooling tower at Yongbyon in 2008, but it eventually ended up being a show. They conducted sixth nuclear tests since then," a North Korean expert said. "More detailed verification by experts is required later," the expert suggested.

#Punggye-ri #nuclear test #dismantle #complete denuclearization 
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