N. Korea has started dismantling nuclear test site: 38 North

North Korea has said it will dismantle its nuclear test site between May 23 and May 25, to uphold its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests, its state media reported on Saturday, a month ahead of a planned North Korea-U.S. summit in Singapore.

USA ambassador Robert Wood meanwhile told the same forum that his country "welcomes the professed commitment by North Korea to end nuclear tests and missile launches and the shut-down of its nuclear test site".

Clinton, during a visit to Australia last week, said US officials should make no concessions to the North Korean regime without seeing concrete action from Pyongyang.

The North Korea-watching 38 North website said in a report that imagery from May 7 showed that the process was "already well under way" at the site, which has been used for each of the North's six underground nuclear test explosions. At the site, there's a system of tunnels under the mountain Mount Mantap.

Experts remain skeptical whether North Korea is serious about giving up its nuclear weapons, noting that Kim announced on January 1 that the country has completed its nuclear force, calling it a "powerful deterrence" against threats from the United States.

The North Korean government will provide journalists with a charter flight from Beijing to Wonsan, North Korea. As such, it said, it would shutter the Punggye-ri site.

They will be the first such talks since the leaders of the two Koreas agreed to work toward peace and the "complete denuclearization" of the divided peninsula during their landmark April 27 summit, which was held in the border truce village of Panmunjom. "In other words, nuclear weapons have become an indispensable ingredient in the cult of personality surrounding the Kim dynasty".

South Korea has said Kim has shown an interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits.

He also criticized other US comments that the North should completely abandon not only its nukes and missiles but also its biological and chemical weapons.

But he has done nothing that would indicate he plans to give up his nuclear weapons or long-range missiles.

The United States and South Korea have welcomed the announcement as the beginning of North Korea's nuclear disarmament. "Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!" he tweeted.

He returned again to North Korea last week for a second meeting, after which Kim agreed to the release of the three Americans.

The top US diplomat did not elaborate, but his comment could refer to the type of assurances North Korea has sought in the past.

"It's a game changer in terms of the diplomacy, certainly".

"This is completely flipping the script on that, and so it will start at the highest possible levels".

After last pact between North Korea and United States, Pyongyang destroyed in 2007 cooling tower of Yongbyon nuclear power plant, where plutonium has been manufactured for its bombs. In this process are invited global journalists, but not nuclear inspectors.

  • Jon Douglas