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Trump thanks North Korea for ‘smart’ move to dismantle nuclear test site

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks before signing the Section 232 Proclamations on Steel and Aluminum Imports during a ceremony at the White House Thursday, March 8, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

North Korea has set the date to begin shutting down a major nuclear test site as it continues to pursue improved relations with the world, earning thanks on Twitter from President Donald Trump for “a very smart and gracious gesture!”

A ceremony will be held between May 23 and May 25 for the dismantling of North Korea’s northern nuclear test ground, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said Saturday, quoting the Foreign Ministry.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has taken a series of steps this year to ease tensions with the U.S. and is set to meet Trump for talks in Singapore on June 12.

Kim in April said the site, Punggye-ri, which is in a secluded mountain valley northeast of Pyongyang and has been the site for all six of the regime’s nuclear tests, would be closed and that further activity has been suspended, KCNA reported April 21. The site has already been in doubt amid signs of structural weakness, and some observers have said it would be unsafe to do more tests there.

The dismantling will include collapsing its test tunnels with explosives and blocking their entrances, removing observation facilities and withdrawing guards and researchers from the site. The test ground will be completely closed after the process, KCNA said.

© 2018 Bloomberg News

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