North Korea destroys nuclear test site, threatens to call off US summit

Fatma Lotfi
3 Min Read

North Korea claimed on Thursday that it demolished its nuclear test site, the Punggye-ri, through setting off a series of explosions in the presence of foreign journalists to witness what was previously announced carried out ahead of the US summit.

The series of blasts were carried out over several hours set deep in the mountains of the north’s sparsely populated northeast. North Korea previously said that it would begin dismantling its nuclear test site between 23-25 May, including holding a ceremony in which foreign journalists are invited. However, it said it will delay it due to bad weather.

Earlier on Thursday, Pyongyang said that it would reconsider participating in the historic summit with the US President Donald Trump in June, calling remarks released by US Vice President Mike Pence on North Korea and Libya “ignorant and stupid.”

The warnings issued by the Vice North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui about remarks Pence made in an interview with FOX News on Monday. He said that North Korea could end up like Muammar El-Qaddafi’s Libya, the former Libyan leader who fell and got killed in 2011, if Pyongyang does not commit to denuclearization. He further warned North Koreans of making a “mistake” to “play”  Trump.

It is not the first time US officials’ remarks angered North Korea.

Last week, Pyongyang accused US National Security Adviser John Bolton of making “reckless” remarks when he said on 13 May that the US kept the “Libya model” of denuclearisation in mind ahead of its meeting with North Korea.

Bolton was also referring to El-Qaddafi who agreed to give up his nuclear weapons in 2003 in exchange for the US relaxing sanctions on the North African country.

Meanwhile, Trump did cast doubt again on Wednesday holding the foreseen meeting with Kim, saying “we’ll know next week” if the summit will take place as it is scheduled on 12 June, a day after he noted that there is “substantial chance” that the summit with Kim may be delayed.

The foreseen summit is scheduled to take place on 12 June in Singapore; it follows another significant meeting held between North and South Korean leaders last month.

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A journalist in DNE's politics section with more than six years of experience in print and digital journalism, focusing on local political issues, terrorism and human rights. She also writes features on women issues and culture.
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