North Korea has announced that it intends to close the Punggye-ri nuclear polygon in the period from [May] 23 to 25. We welcome this,” the presidential office said in a statement. Pyongyang’s plans demonstrate the willingness to fulfill the promises made at the inter-Korean summit, the statement said.
Meanwhile, South Korean opposition leader Hong Joon-pyo has doubted the sincerity of Pyongyang’s plans.
“North Korea has already deceived the world in 2008 with the cooling tower explosion show … The Punggye-ri nuclear test site shutdown show that they're planning to hold is nothing new," Hong said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
On Saturday, the North Korean state media reported that the ruling party decided to dismantle the test site. The decision comes ahead of historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, slated for June 12. The US president has already welcomed North Korea’s plans to close Punggye-ri, calling it a “smart and gracious gesture.”
Pyongyang conducted its last nuclear test in September. The international community has repeatedly condemned North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests and imposed sanctions on Pyongyang to curb its nuclear program.