North Korea to finish dismantling nuclear test site 'within two weeks'

Journalists are to be invited to observe the start of the process

North Korea to finish dismantling nuclear test site 'within two weeks'

Kim Jong Un. Picture by: AP/Press Association Images

North Korea is "taking technical measures" to dismantle its nuclear test site within the next two weeks, according to state media.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports that journalists from the US, South Korea, China, Russia and the UK will be invited to observe a ceremony marking the start of the process, which will be held at some point between May 23rd and 25th, depending on weather conditions.

All tunnels at the testing ground in the northeast of the country will be destroyed by explosion, with observation and research facilities also to be removed, along with ground-based guard units.

Plans by Kim Jong Un to shut the site down were revealed ahead of his historic summit with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea last month.

"From 21 April, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)," KCNA said at the time.

"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test."

On Thursday, it was confirmed that Mr Kim would finally hold a highly teased meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12th.

"We will both try to make it a very special moment for world peace," Mr Trump said on Twitter.

Until recently, Mr Kim and Mr Trump had been trading personal insults and threats, heightening tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme.

In November, North Korea boasted that it had developed a missile capable of "striking the whole US mainland".

But their relationship appears to have thawed, and in the early hours of Thursday morning, Mr Trump welcomed home three Americans released by Pyongyang.

The North Korean foreign ministry said on Saturday that the country was committed to "promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighbouring countries and the international society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and over the globe".