North Korea sets date for shutting down its nuclear test site

BREAKING: North Korea has set the date to begin shutting down a major nuclear test site. A ceremony will be held May 23-25, the state-run news agency said, quoting the Foreign Ministry. International press are invited.

The isolated Asian nation, which had already pledged to begin dismantling the site this month, will invite journalists from China, Russia, the U.S., the U.K. and South Korea to cover the event, KCNA said in the statement.

Kim last month said the site, Punggye-ri, built in a secluded mountain valley northeast of Pyongyang and the site for all six of the regime’s nuclear blasts, would be shuttered and further tests had been suspended, KCNA reported April 21.

The site has already been in doubt amid signs of structural weakness, and some observers have said it would be unsafe to do more tests there.

The dismantling will include collapsing its test tunnels with explosives and blocking their entrances, removing observation facilities and withdrawing guards and researchers from the site. The test ground will be completely closed after the process, KCNA said.