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North Korea to hold 'ceremony' for dismantling nuclear test site

North Korea to hold 'ceremony' for dismantling nuclear test site

"The Nuclear Weapon Institute and other concerned institutions are taking technical measures for dismantling the northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK in order to ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test", said the announcement.

"The DPRK will, also in the future, promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighbouring countries and the global society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and over the globe", the North Korean foreign ministry statement carried by KCNA said Saturday.

North Korea said Saturday that it will dismantle its nuclear test site in less than two weeks, in a dramatic event that would set up leader Kim Jong Un's summit with President Donald Trump next month.

Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in affirmed their commitment to the goal of "realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula" at a summit in the Demilitarized Zone that divides their countries last month.

A dismantling "ceremony" will be held and journalist from the U.S., South Korea and elsewhere will be invited, Pyongyang said.

"All worldwide journalists will be provided with (a) charter flight from Beijing to Wonsan", it said.

The test tunnels would be blown up, blocking their entries, the statement said. In another sign of improving relations, North Korea this week released three US citizens who had been imprisoned in the country.

There, reporters will board a charter train to the nuclear test ground in an "uninhabited deep mountain area".

Dialogue brokered by Seoul has seen US-North Korea relations go from trading personal insults and threats of war previous year to a summit between Kim and President Donald Trump due in Singapore on June 12.

Kim also offered to make the dismantling public. "The nuclear test and the intercontinental ballistic missile test will be discontinued", state media reported.

At a ruling party meeting last month, the North announced that it had suspended all tests of nuclear devices and ICBMs and the plan to close the nuclear test site.

North Korea's climb down on nuclear weapons comes after Trump determinedly maintained a raft of economic sanctions against the country. For instance, Kim's father Kim Jong Il invited foreign journalists to watch the destruction of a cooling tower at the Yongbyon reactor, where the North produced plutonium, in the summer of 2008.