US President Donald Trump has hailed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s announcement to dismantle country’s nuclear test site in less than two weeks and called it a “gracious gesture”.
The Pyongyang’s move comes ahead of Kim Jong-un’s landmark summit with US President Donald Trump to held in Singapore on June 12.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Saturday saying that all of the tunnels at the country’s north-eastern testing ground will be destroyed by explosion and the observation and research facilities and ground based guard units will also be removed.
The dismantling process will be witnessed by domestic and world media representatives especially from US, South Korea, China, Russia and Britain.
North Korea has announced that they will dismantle Nuclear Test Site this month, ahead of the big Summit Meeting on June 12th. Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2018
During his recent meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had revealed plans to shut the test site by the end of May.
North Korean foreign ministry statement said, “A ceremony for dismantling the nuclear test ground is now scheduled between May 23 and 25”. It further said that North Korea will continue to “promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighboring countries and the international society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and over the globe.”
North Korean announcement came days after Washington announced that Trump-Kim summit will be held on June12 in Singapore. A report from Singapore says that the summit will most likely be held at the Shangri-la Hotel.
Meanwhile Pyongyang based North Korea Times has reported from Washington that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during his second visit to North Korea has told Kim Jong-un that US was willing to help North Korea boost its economy and living standards to bring it to the levels like those in the country’s prosperous neighbor, South Korea. Pompeo said that if he gives up nuclear weapons, the country would enjoy crucial economic aid from America.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while addressing a news conference with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha in Washington on Friday said, “We had good conversations about the histories of our two nations, the challenges that we have had between us. We talked about the fact that America has often in history had adversaries who we are now close partners with and our hope that we could achieve the same with respect to North Korea.”
South Korean foreign minister, on her part, praised the forthcoming summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un to be held in Singapore as an “historic” opportunity, but sounded a little sceptical. However, she emphasised that US military presence in South Korea must be “a matter for the US-Republic of Korea (South Korea) alliance first and foremost.”
South Korean foreign minister went ahead saying that the US troops presence in the South for the past 65 years has played a “crucial role for deterrence,” peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.
However, observers say that there are high concerns that during the summit in Singapore, North Korea might demand the US withdraw its troops from neighbouring South Korea. Questions are being raised continuously about whether the two leaders have the same objective in mind when they speak about denuclearisation?