Defector: Kim Jong Un will never give up his nukes

Jonathan Ernst- RC1FEF

USA researchers say recent satellite imagery shows that North Korea has begun dismantling facilities at its nuclear test site.

United States researchers say North Korea has already begun dismantling its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the country's northeast.

What a difference a year makes!

However, analysts say the last five nuclear tests were all conducted using the same tunnel, and that although that tunnel may be damaged beyond fix, the North Koreans could dig others for potential future tests. These breakthroughs reflect the effectiveness of diplomacy, when it is done right.

The former No. 2 man in the North Korean Embassy in London casts doubt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's new cuddly and approachable image in a new memoir published Monday.

Suh Kyun-ryul, a professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul National University, agreed that the test site could contain residual nuclear material, saying the inspection process should come first, before shutting down the test site.

The North also is widely believed to have as many as 60 nuclear weapons and production facilities that were not affected.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un previously announced the conclusion of North Korea's nuclear testing program and the intended shuttering of the Punggye-ri complex. The regime later said it would invite journalists from China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US between May 23 and May 25 to observe the collapse and closing of test tunnels and other facilities.

North Korea's state-controlled media released a statement from the ministry of foreign affairs on Saturday, exactly one month ahead of the historic Kim-Trump meeting planned for June 12 in Singapore.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry announced over the weekend it would invite journalists to watch the site's shuttering as early as May 23.

"The final destination that the North is headed for is not to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons program but become a nuclear weapons state covered by the paper called denuclearization", he added, according to the South's Yonhap news agency.

According to Chinese academic reports, North Korea's most recent nuclear test in September of what Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb, was so large it triggered a collapse inside the mountain, rendering the entire site unusable for future tests.

Last month, Pompeo became the first known U.S. official to meet with Kim, where he helped lay the groundwork for the upcoming meeting with Trump.

Bolton said the USA side also will discuss not just North Korea's nuclear and missile programs but its chemical and biological weapons arsenal as well.

Still, the closure of the underground testing site could be a useful precedent for Washington and Seoul as they proceed with the nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang, analysts say.

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