This May 24, 2018 photo shows an explosion at the entrance to a tunnel at the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility of the Democratic People’s Republic Korea (DPRK), during its demolition. (STR / DONG-A ILBO / NEWS 1 / AFP)
SEOUL – The Republic of Korea's spy agency has observed preparations by the Democratic People’s Republic Korea (DPRK) for international inspections at several of its nuclear and missile test sites, the Yonhap news agency said on Wednesday, citing a ROK lawmaker.
During his third summit with ROK President Moon Jae-in, DPRK’s Kim Jong-un pledged to allow experts to observe the dismantling of a missile engine testing site and a launch pad
Kim Min-ki of the ruling Democratic Party told reporters that intelligence officials had observed what they believed to be preparations for possible inspections at Punggye-ri nuclear test site and the Sohae Satellite launching ground.
The ROK National Intelligence Service observed "preparation and intelligence activities that seem to be in preparation for foreign inspectors’ visit," the lawmaker added.
The DPRK has stopped nuclear and missile tests in the past year.
In September, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un pledged at a summit with ROK President Moon Jae-in to also close Sohae and allow experts to observe the dismantling of the missile engine testing site and a launch pad.
At the time, Moon said the DPRK agreed to let international inspectors observe a "permanent dismantlement" of key missile facilities, and take further steps, such as closing Yongbyon, the DPRK’s main nuclear complex, in return for reciprocal moves by the United States.
Washington has demanded steps such as a full disclosure of the DPRK’s nuclear and missile facilities, before agreeing to Pyongyang’s key goals, including an easing of international sanctions and an official end to the Korean War.
The DPRK’s pledge at the summit with the ROK drew an enthusiastic response from President Donald Trump.
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