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Dismantling of North Korea nuclear site 'well under way', satellite images show

Dismantling of North Korea nuclear site 'well under way', satellite images show

North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that all of the tunnels at the country's northeastern testing ground will be destroyed by explosion, and that observation and research facilities and ground-based guard units will also be removed. Trump wrote in a tweet Saturday evening.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in welcomed the announcement Monday, calling it an "initial step in the complete denuclearisation of North Korea".

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to meet June 12 in Singapore for the first ever summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

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

After Saturday's announcement, President TrumpDonald John TrumpRomney denounces pastor slated to speak at U.S. embassy in Jerusalem Pentagon finds problems with Kushner-backed health program: report Apple CEO Tim Cook praises Parkland, "Me Too" activists in commencement speech MORE thanked North Korea for its "gracious gesture".

Tensions on and around the peninsula had been mounting for years as Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes saw it subjected to increasingly strict sanctions by the UN Security Council, the US, EU, South Korea and others. That seems like it can be addressed by restrictions on missile capacity and/or some treaty which eliminates by some definition how much we consider North Korea a "threat". Pompeo, speaking on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday said that the regime will benefit from private investment, not assistance from US taxpayers, in exchange for abandoning its nuclear weapon program.

South Korea has said Kim has shown an interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits. However, there are lingering doubts about whether Kim would ever agree to fully relinquish the weapons he probably views as his only guarantee of survival.

David Beasley said he had unprecedented access to the secretive state, telling BBC radio that North Korea's leaders had a "sense of optimism".

The Pentagon says three Americans released by North Korea have left a Washington-area hospital and have reunited with their families. "If North Korea shuns them, it will once again face criticism that the dismantlement was just for show".

Trump's goal is for North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons in a permanent and verifiable way.

Kim in April said the site, Punggye-ri, which is built in a secluded mountain valley northeast of Pyongyang and has been the site for all six of the regime's nuclear tests, would be shuttered and that further activity has been suspended, KCNA reported 21 April.