N.Korea dismantling nuclear test site: Satellite images
Seoul, May 15 (IANS) North Korea has started to dismantle its nuclear test site, which it had pledged to close down after the inter-Korean summit on April 27, according to media reports on Tuesday.
"Commercial satellite imagery from May 7 provided the first definitive evidence that dismantlement of the test site was already well underway," Efe news agency reported citing the 38 North website report that published and analysed satellite images of the site.
Pyongyang had announced it would publicly dismantle its Punggye-ri nuclear facility between May 23 and 25 by destroying the tunnels in the complex with explosions, blocking entrances and removing observation areas, research centres, and security structures.
According to the report, many key operational support buildings have been razed since their last analysis.
Some of the rails and mining carts used for excavation of the tunnels in the complex have also been dismantled and other small buildings have been removed.
During the summit, Pyongyang had pledged to work for a complete denuclearisation of the peninsula, having promised to stop its weapons tests earlier.
The commitments came ahead of a summit to be held between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the US President Donald Trump to discuss a possible end to Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
North Korea has carried out six underground nuclear tests–including the last and most powerful one in September 2017–at the Punggye-ri site.
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.