REPORT: North Korea begins to dismantle nuclear test site — as concerns loom about other site
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North Korea has begun demolishing buildings and removing mining carts at its primary, but dilapidated, nuclear test site in preparation to close it next week, satellite images indicated, as questions loom about at least one other possible facility Kim Jong Un can turn to to test his weapons of mass destruction.
The images obtained by 38 North showed several changes to Punggye-ri nuclear test site between April 20 and May 7, including razed buildings. A shed and engineering office building at the site’s north portal, where the last five nuclear tests were conducted, were gone in recent satellite images.
“Commercial satellite imagery from May 7 provided the first definitive evidence that dismantlement of the test site was already well underway,” the report published Monday stated.
The article goes on to state the following:
The images leaked about a week before North Korea is expected to hold a “ceremony” to publicly dismantle the facility. The regime said it plans to close the nuclear test site by collapsing tunnels and removing observation and research facilities. The entrances will also be blocked out. Journalists from the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and Britain were invited to the planned even on May 23-25.
The early start the dismantling, however, appears to be an attempt by North Korean officials who are “sanitizing” the site to scrub information they don’t want in the hands of journalists, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told the Wall Street Journal.
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