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Buildings being dismantled at NK nuke test site

Buildings being dismantled at NK nuke test site

"Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!" he tweeted.

South Korea's military said on Tuesday that Pyongyang was moving ahead with plans to close its nuclear test site, according to the Associated Press news agency.

But the remarks could also be an indicator of how North Korea views denuclearization, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un saying on April 21 that a testing moratorium will help foster global disarmament.

"We hope the sound of the dynamite blowing up the tunnels at Punggye-ri will be the first salute in our journey towards a nuclear-free Korean peninsula", the South's presidential spokesman said.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon will lead the South Korean delegation at Wednesday's talks in Panmunjom, while the senior North Korean delegate will be Ri Son Gwon, head of the agency in charge of inter-Korean exchanges, according to the ministry.

This is the first time that the USA government mentioned a specific place in its territory to store North Korea's nuclear facilities and materials to be dismantled.

Following the Moon-Kim meeting, Moon's office said Kim was willing to disclose the process to worldwide experts, but the North's statement Saturday didn't address allowing experts on the site.

A campaign of diplomacy has allowed tensions to ease on the Korean Peninsula, but they were high throughout much of 2017, fueled by North Korea's missile tests and its advancing nuclear weapons program, as well as US military exercises and Trump's threatening statements.

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Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said the objective of Max Thunder and exercise Foal Eagle - another training event - is to enhance the two nations' abilities to operate together to defend South Korea.

"If North Korea has really chose to denuclearize, it has no reason not to invite them", the editorial said.

Some experts believe Kim may try to drag out the process or seek a deal in which he gives away his intercontinental ballistic missiles but retains some of his shorter-range arsenal in return for a reduced US military presence in the South.

A high-level South Korean government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Monday that Seoul explained to Washington multiple times through "various routes" that the United States could benefit from economically engaging with North Korea because the reclusive country had market value.

Satellite photos from last month showed signs of construction at the North's Yongbyon nuclear facility.

If the dismantling occurs at the end of the month, it will not be the first time North Korea has publicly destroyed a nuclear facility.

"Dismantlement of the nuclear test ground will be done in the following sequence-making all tunnels of the test ground collapse by explosion; completely blocking entries; removing all observation facilities, research institutes and structures of guard units on the ground".

North Korea's plan to close the site has been welcomed by Washington, Seoul and the United Nations secretary general. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, during a news programme in May. Some experts noted that North Korea over the course of its six nuclear tests probably learned how to prevent radiation leaks.