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N. Korea able to use Punggye-ri nuke testing site after restoration work: JCS

Defense 17:36 October 08, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is believed to be able to reuse its now-defunct Punggye-ri nuclear test site after weeks or months of restoration work, though no such moves have been detected, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Tuesday.

In May last year, the communist country demolished the testing site, which included four tunnels, in a show of its commitment to denuclearization.

"Two of the four tunnels -- the No. 3 and No. 4 ones -- could be able to be used again after repair," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Park Han-ki told lawmakers during a parliamentary audit, noting that "at least weeks or months will be necessary for their restoration."

A senior-level JCS officer then added that no moves for restoration have been detected.

Declaring the breakdown of its working-level talks with the United States held in Sweden last week, the North's top nuclear negotiator Kim Myong-gil said, "Whether our suspension of the nuclear and ICBM tests will continue or they will be revived will depend wholly on the U.S. stance."

The North Portal, also known as Tunnel No. 2, of North Korea's only known nuclear test site, Punggye-ri, is blown up on May 24, 2018, in this press pool photo. South Korean journalists covering the process said the demolition of the site was carried out in a series of explosions over several hours on the day. (Yonhap)

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