North Korea

Kim Jong-un ‘ready’ to invite inspectors to North Korea’s nuclear test site, Pompeo says after meeting

The Punggye-ri facility, buried inside a mountain near the border with China, was allegedly taken apart but the North has yet to allow international observers in to verify its claims

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 2:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 2:27pm

International inspectors will be allowed into North Korea’s dismantled nuclear testing site, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, after a meeting with Kim Jong-un in which he said “significant progress” was made towards denuclearisation.

Pompeo met the North Korean leader in Pyongyang on Sunday to rekindle stalled denuclearisation talks following a landmark summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

“Chairman Kim said he is ready to allow them to come in” to see the dismantled Punggye-ri nuclear test site, Pompeo said.

North Korea took apart the Punggye-ri facility in the country’s northeast in May but has yet to allow international observers into the site to verify its claims.

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The facility, buried inside a mountain near the border with China, was the staging ground for all six of the North’s nuclear tests.

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The inspectors will be allowed in as soon as the two sides agree on “logistics”, Pompeo told reporters in Seoul before leaving for Beijing on a whirlwind diplomatic trip.

Denuclearisation of North Korea is “a long process”, Pompeo said, adding: “We made significant progress.”

The visit was Pompeo’s fourth to North Korea.

Trump met Kim in Singapore in June for the first-ever summit between the two countries, resulting in what critics say was only a vague commitment by the North Korean leader towards denuclearisation.

The two sides have since sparred over the exact terms of the vaguely-worded deal, with the US pushing for a “final, fully verified denuclearisation” of North Korea while Pyongyang has slammed Washington for its “gangster-like” demands for its unilateral disarmament.