North Korea says to join global efforts to ban all nuclear weapons tests

North Korea's ambassador to the UN in Geneva said the country will "join international desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests".
North Korea's ambassador to the UN in Geneva said the country will "join international desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests".PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (AFP) - North Korea plans to join international efforts to implement a total ban on nuclear weapons tests, an ambassador for the country told the United Nations disarmament body on Tuesday (May 15).

"DPRK will join international desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests," North Korea's ambassador to the UN in Geneva Han Tae Song said in an address to the Conference on Disarmament, using North Korea's official acronym.

Satellite photos indicate that North Korea has begun dismantling its nuclear test site ahead of a historic summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, a US monitor said Tuesday.

In a move welcomed by Washington and Seoul, North Korea said at the weekend it will "completely" destroy the Punggye-ri test site, in a ceremony scheduled between May 23-25 in front of invited foreign media.

But no observers from international atomic monitoring agencies have been invited, raising concerns over the openness of the process.

Punggye-ri, in the north-east of the country, has been the site of all six of the North's nuclear tests, the latest and by far the most powerful in September last year, which Pyongyang said was an H-bomb.

North Korea pledged to close the testing ground after Kim last month declared the country's nuclear force complete and said it had no further need for the complex.