North Korea to destroy nuclear site ahead of U.S. summit: KCNA

North Korean mountain

North Korean mountain

The dismantling will include collapsing its test tunnels with explosives and blocking their entrances, removing observation facilities and withdrawing guards and researchers from the site.

Located in mountainous terrain in the northeast of the country, Punggye-ri is less than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from China.

South Korea, which has played an important role in arranging the summit between the leaders of the USA and the North, said that Kim expressed genuine openness to denuclearization in exchange for eased sanctions and economic benefits to the North's crumbling markets.

Kim had previously announced his intention to dismantle the site as negotiations begin over total denuclearization. His talks in North Korea were part of preparations for a planned summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim on June 12 in Singapore.

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The announcement comes a day after North Korea pledged to refrain from unannounced missile tests during a meeting with United Nations aviation agency officials, Yonhap reported.

The US is willing to boost North Korea's economy and put it on a par with the rich South Korea in return for denuclearization, US top diplomat Mike Pompeo has said.

It should be noted, however, that it is not yet clear if North Korea will also allow disarmament experts to come monitor the work.

Pyongyang's pledge could open the way for airlines to route flights through North Korean airspace. Amid concerns that North Korea will demand the U.S. withdraw its troops from neighboring South Korea, Kang emphasized that the U.S. military presence there must be "a matter for the U.S. -ROK alliance first and foremost", using an acronym for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

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Thailand has expressed its intent to participate and Taiwan and Colombia are also showing interest. He said that, starting today, bilateral relations have entered the era of coordination.

Kim final 12 months oversaw a string of missile and nuclear tests, drawing the ire of the worldwide neighborhood.

During the Friday press conference, Pompeo said he had had a "warm" conversation with the North Korean dictator and that he believed the two countries agreed on the objectives of the summit.

The spectacle of the North shuttering and even destroying its nuclear facilities is not new. He added that the Trump administration was targeted on ensuring "we did not find yourself the place we have been earlier than" within the talks with North Korea. For instance, Kim's father Kim Jong Il invited foreign journalists to watch the destruction of a cooling tower at the Yongbyon reactor, where the North produced plutonium, in the summer of 2008. It will be first time an American president meets a North Korean leader.

She also stressed the importance of the USA troops stationed in South Korea, as observers speculate Pyongyang may ask for their withdrawal.

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