North Korea plans to join international efforts to implement a total ban on nuclear weapons tests, its ambassador told the United Nations today.
This comes just hours after satellite images appeared to show that the dictatorship has begun to dismantle a key nuclear test site in north-east North Korea.
Pyongyang has pledged dismantle the test site some time between May 23 and May 25 in order to uphold its pledge to cease tests, its state media reported on Saturday.
New rules: Kim Jong-Un’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, has today announced North Korea’s intentions to work towards a complete international ban on nuclear weapons tests
Earlier today, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Han Tae-song announced the country’s intentions to work towards a complete ban on tests.
‘DPRK will join international desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests,’ Han Tae-song said in an address to the Conference on Disarmament, using North Korea’s official acronym.
Han told the UN assembly that his country aimed to make more ‘efforts to achieve the development of intra-Korean relations, defuse acute military tensions and substantially remove the danger of the war on the Korean peninsula.’
‘It will make sincere efforts… to establish a durable lasting peace mechanism’ with its neighbour to the south, he said, urging the international community to ‘extend its active support in encouraging and promoting the current positive climate.’
Satellite images examined by American researchers appear to show building demolitions, removal of railways, and overturned mining carts at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Korea
The above before-and-after image shows an office building removed, a building roof partially removed, and other facilities that were taken down
The above images show how a number of structures in the command center have been taken down
The new satellite images from the North Korea’s nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, appear to show building demolitions, removal of railways, and overturned mining carts.
The researchers are relying on commercial satellite imagery from May 7, according to the 38 North web site.
The site analyzed images which show significant changes that have been made at the location which are consistent with decommissioning.
‘Between April 20 and May 7, 2018, the probable engineering office building and a possible instrumentation shed located just outside the North Portal (where the last five underground nuclear tests have been conducted) were razed along with at least two smaller buildings or sheds,’ according to 38 North.
No personnel or significant activity is observed at the barracks area
His comment came amid a recent whirlwind of diplomacy and outreach by the long isolated regime, and ahead of a historic summit next month between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.
Kim last month announced that his country would halt its own nuclear tests and intercontinental missile launches, which was widely hailed as an important step towards denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
But Pyongyang has yet to rejoin the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the international UN treaty aiming to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, which it withdrew from in 2003.
It is also one of eight countries with nuclear test capacity, including the United States, China and Iran, which have so far failed to either sign or ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, blocking it from taking effect.
Did Kim promise to end missile launches because his test site was ALREADY out of action?
Kim Jong-un only agreed to freeze his missile tests because his underground nuclear test site has collapsed, Chinese experts suggested.
The dictator announced on Saturday he would halt nuke trials and intercontinental missile launches and also vowed to dismantle the atomic facility at Punggye-ri in the country’s north east to ‘transparently guarantee’ the end of testing.
But the surprise announcement comes after reports last year of major earthquakes and landslides in the mountainous area in the wake of five test blasts carried out by the secretive state in recent years.
The dictator announced on Saturday he would halt nuke trials and intercontinental missile launches. But doubt now surrounds the honesty of this claim after evidence revealed the test site was already damaged, including by landslides depicted on this map
According to the South China Morning Post, two groups of Chinese experts say the military facility has collapsed ‘putting China and other nearby nations at unprecedented risk of radioactive exposure’.
One of the experts said this could be the real reason behind Kim Jong-un’s decision to end his missile and nuclear trials.
The tyrant had claimed that the freeze was because he had now successfully developed the country’s arsenal, including miniaturizing warheads to fit them on to rockets.
But Wen Lianxing, from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, and his researchers have concluded that a major collapse took place at Kim’s atomic site after the country’s sixth nuclear test in September.
At the time, Japan estimated that the blast was measured at 120 kilotons, eight times the size of the US device that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.
Satellite images appeared to show multiple landslides in the wake of the hydrogen bomb blast, with green mountains reduced to muddy hillsides.
Weeks later, unverified reports emerged that up to 200 workers may have been killed during the construction of a new tunnel at the site. Three small earthquakes then hit nearby regions, it is claimed.
A map showing the atomic facility at Punggye-ri and piles of dumped material that show the construction of a tunnel, where dozens of workers are thought to have died after the structure collapsed