North Korea has made a statement confirming its plans to destroy tunnels beneath the country’s northeastern testing ground. Kim Jong Un previously stated that the site would close down by the end of May, and it has now also been confirmed that many buildings on the site will now be removed. China, the United States, Russia, the UK, and South Korea have all been invited to watch the process of dismantling taking place.
The move is seen to be a step towards strengthening the commitment towards denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula, and will also act as a talking point and friendly gesture at the upcoming talks between the US and North Korea in Singapore on June 12th.
South Korea has yet to respond to this statement made on North Korea’s state television network.
While the step does appear to be a positive one in regards to peace in the region, it does not actually guarantee true denuclearisation; instead, the act is more of a ceremonial one.
Further issues arise when the definition of ‘denuclearisation’ is brought up; North Korea has used this term for decades, but to them, it doesn’t so much refer to the removal of nuclear weapons on the peninsula, rather the removal of nuclear weapons in and around the peninsula, including the United State’s nuclear umbrella around South Korea and Japan. This could likely mean that the United States would lose all of its missile coverage in and around the peninsula, while North Korea would only lose its long-range systems; in this situation, while North Korea would no longer be able to attack the United States, it would still have ballistic coverage over East Asia, allowing it to maintain a certain degree of mid-range military dominance.
Featured Image Credits: AP