N.Korea Intent on Wide Publicity for Nuke Test Site Closure

      May 14, 2018 09:53

      North Korea will be formally close its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri at a ceremony between May 23 and 25 in the presence of reporters from South Korea, the U.S., China, Russia and the U.K., the North's state TV said Saturday.

      Making the announcement, the North Korean Foreign Ministry did not say whether international experts will also be invited.

      But some experts worry that closing the site without supervision from international scientists could result in valuable clues to the North's nuclear capabilities being destroyed.

      The cooling tower at the nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, North Korea explodes on June 27, 2008. /Reuters-Newsis

      The ministry said it will arrange chartered flights and a special train to transport foreign reporters to Punggye-ri, where it will set up a media center complete with communication lines and accommodation.

      The focus seems to be chiefly on publicity and is reminiscent of the 2008 blowing up of the cooling tower at its nuclear plant in Yongbyon, which was broadcast on CNN, though operations resumed a few years later.

      It is unlikely that reporters will be given a chance to look into the tunnels at the site, which may at any rate be highly contaminated by radiation.

      It is unclear whether they can broadcast live. The ministry only said it will "assist reporters in transmitting footage of the dismantlement from the media center," which will be set up in Wonsan, 200 km from the site.

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