United States ready to offer security assurances to DPRK: Pompeo

Mike Pompeo Fox News Screen Shot 2018 05 13

Mike Pompeo Fox News Screen Shot 2018 05 13

During negotiations ahead of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the US administration called on the regime to remove some of its weapons, including nuclear warheads, materials and intercontinental ballistic missiles from the country in return for easing economic sanctions, the agency reported, citing unidentified high-level sources.

In a move welcomed by Washington and Seoul, North Korea said at the weekend it will "completely" destroy the Punggye-ri test site, in a ceremony scheduled between May 23-25 in front of invited foreign media.

The Punggye-ri site in the northeast of the country was used for all of the North's six nuclear tests and lies deep within mountains.

Pompeo - who recently returned from another set of meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un - said the benefits North Korea can gain by scrapping its nuclear ambitions should be obvious.

The North's announcement comes days after Washington announced that the historic summit between Kim and Trump will be held June 12 in Singapore.

However no tunnel entrances appear to have been permanently closed and some main buildings are still intact, it added, saying that work will likely be carried out in front of the foreign media. It will be the first time that leaders of the United States and North Korea have met in person.

North Korea has invited the outside world to witness the dismantling of its nuclear facilities before.

"Those are the kind of things that, if we get what it is the President has demanded - the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea - that the American people will offer in spades". South Koreans can not visit North Korea without an invitation from the North and approval from their government.

North Korea has started to dismantle the facilities of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in the north-east of the country. Some of the rails for mining cars have also been removed.

North Korea has invited worldwide media to witness the destruction of the site, but not technical inspectors, leaving disarmament experts and nuclear scientists wondering how effective the plan is - and whether it will be safe.

The photo, taken April 27, 2018, shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un holding their hands up together shortly after signing a joint declaration following their bilateral summit held at the border village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas. Also in the delegation will be Kim Yun-hyok, vice minister of railways, and Won Kil-U, vice minister of physical culture and sports.

Kim said during the meeting that the nuclear test site's mission had come "to an end" because the North had completed developing nuclear-capable intermediate-range missiles, ICBMs and other strike means.

North Korea's plan to close the site has been welcomed by Washington, Seoul and the United Nations secretary general.

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