01:50 GMT +316 August 2018
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    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides guidance on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 3, 2017

    N Korea Confirms Closure of Nuclear Site After Talks With South Suspended

    © REUTERS / KCNA
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    The dismantling of the Punggye-ri facility is part of a new policy, which became possible after a joint declaration was signed in Panmunjom on April 27. However, in May North Korea suspended further negotiations with Seoul over air drills that South Korea had launched with Washington.

    The closure of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site would be "a very meaningful and significant measure" based on the spirit of an inter-Korean agreement — the North Korean DPRK Today wrote on Sunday in wake of reports claiming that the North had disregarded a request from South Korean journalists to attend the event.

    The dismantling of the testing area involves collapsing all of its tunnels with explosives, blocking its entrances and transferring all observation facilities, research buildings and security posts.

    READ MORE: North Korean Officials Turn to PDF Versions of ‘Fire And Fury' to Analyze Trump

    The situation became uncertain last week, when North Korean government announced that the Max Thunder air drills, launched by Seoul and Washington, would be a "provocation," and violation of the Panmunjom agreement, suspending talks with South Korea and threatened to cancel negotiations with the US. After the statement, the US diverted two B-52 bombers from flying over the peninsula, while South Korea and Japan agreed to refrain from any possible escalation.

    READ MORE: US Diverts Bombers From Korean Peninsula After DPRK Threat to Kill Summit

    Previously, on May 12, North Korean official media reported the issue, claiming, that Pyongyang would dismantle facilities at its only Punggye-ri nuclear test site sometime between May 23 and May 25. The US President Donald Trump approved the action on his Twitter, noting that the dismantling of the facility is "a very smart and gracious gesture."

    The negotiations between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are still scheduled for June 12.

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    Tags:
    air force drills, denuclearization, Punggye-ri nuclear test site, Moon Jae-in, Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), South Korea
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