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US Monitor Says N. Korea is Dismantling its Nuclear Test Site

US Monitor Says N. Korea is Dismantling its Nuclear Test Site

"Several key operational support buildings, located just outside the North, West and South Portals, have been razed", the report noted, adding that the North appears to have removed some of the rails for mining carts, many of which have been disassembled.

A number of analysts have doubted North Korea's commitment to the denuclearisation, citing the example of 2008, when Pyongyang publicly dismantled parts of its uranium reprocessing plant but kept developing its nuclear programme.

This week, President Donald Trump welcomed home three Americans who were being held as political prisoners in North Korea, and announced the date and time of his highly anticipated meeting with Kim Jong Un.

South Korea believes Kim has genuine interest in giving up his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits.

Announcing the decision last month, Kim, while portraying the move as a friendly gesture by North Korea towards the US and South Korea, also said the site was not necessary anymore because the nuclear weapons had been already been developed and no further tests were necessary, indicating that it was a credible nuclear power. Trump called the action "a very smart and gracious gesture!" on Twitter and told reporters that the process "is very important". Pompeo, who has met twice with the North Korean leader to discuss the summit, said he was "convinced" Kim shared USA goals.

The North Korean announcement said the ceremony would take place between May 23 and 25, weather permitting.

But the interview remarks suggest the focus of the summit will likely be laser sharp, avoiding subjects which precedence has shown can draw sharp North Korean sensitivities.

He further claimed that North Korea wishes to become a nuclear weapons state under the shield of officially being recognised as a denuclearised state.

To accommodate the travelling journalists, North Korea said various measures would be taken including "opening territorial air space".NO MENTION OF EXPERTSSouth Korean officials said in April that North Korea also planned to invite experts from the United States and South Korea for the Punggye-ri shutdown, but KCNA made no mention of this.

However, Pyongyang has yet to say whether it will give up its nuclear weapons and dismantle related facilities other than Punggye-ri.

Last month, Pompeo became the first known U.S. official to meet with Kim, where he helped lay the groundwork for the upcoming meeting with Trump.

In June 2008, global broadcasters were allowed to show the demolishing of a cooling tower at the Nyongbyon reactor site, a year after the North reached an agreement with the US and four other nations to disable its nuclear facilities in return for an aid package worth about $400 million. In his April 20 statement announcing the Punggye-ri closing, Kim said the country's efforts to build a warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile had progressed to the point where tests were no longer necessary.