Kim to shut down nuclear test site in May
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to shut down the country's nuclear test site in May and open the process to experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States, Seoul's Presidential office said today. Kim made the comments during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday at a border truce village.
Expressing optimism about his anticipated meeting with Donald Trump, Kim said, "Once we start talking, the US will know that I'm not a person to launch nuclear weapons at South Korea or US," Yoon quoted Kim. "If we build trust with US and receive promises to end war, then why would be need to live in difficulty by keeping our nuclear-weapons?" Yoon quoted kim.
Moon and Kim during the summit promised to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, but made no references to verification or timetables. Seoul had also shuttled between Pyongyang and Washington to set up a potential meeting between Kim and Trump, which is expected next month or early June. North Korea recently suspended all tests of nuclear devices and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Kim reacted to skepticism that North would only be closing down the northernmost test tunnel at site in Punggye-ri, which some analysts say became too unstable to conduct further underground detonations. But Kim denied that he would be merely clearing out damaged goods, saying that the site also has two new tunnels that are larger than previous testing facilities, Yoon said.
Yoon said Kim also revealed plans to re-adjust its current time zone to match the South's. The Koreas used the same time zone for decades before the North in 2015 created its own "Pyongyang Time" by setting the clock 30 minutes behind South Korea and Japan. North Korea then explained the decision as an effort to remove a legacy of Japanese colonial rule.