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Government Politics

North Korea Announces Plans To Dismantle Nuclear Test Site (npr.org) 217

The Associated Press is reporting North Korea has announced plans to dismantle its nuclear test site between May 23 and 25. The dismantling will occur before President Trump is scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12. NPR reports: Reuters reports that Punggye-ri nuclear test site has been the location of all of North Korea's six known nuclear tests. At the site, there's a system of tunnels under the mountain Mount Mantap. Journalists from the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and Britain will be invited to watch a special ceremony in which all of the tunnels at the testing ground will be destroyed and observation and research facilities and guard units will be taken down. The North Korean government will provide journalists with a charter flight from Beijing to Wosnan, North Korea. From there, a train will take them to the test site in the northeast part of the country.

The AP also reports that at a ruling party meeting last month, North Korea announced the plan to close the nuclear testing ground, along with a commitment to suspend all tests of nuclear devices and ICBMs. At that same meeting, however, North Korea said it has been performing a kind of nuclear test classified as "subcritical." The "subcritical" experiments give scientists an opportunity to test weapons without causing an actual nuclear chain reaction and explosion.

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North Korea Announces Plans To Dismantle Nuclear Test Site

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  • "Dismantled?" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @04:24PM (#56601526)
    Wasn't their test site already "dismantled" by a massive tunnel collapse?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      One tunnel collapsed after a test.

      They did not store the entirety of their nuclear weapons program in a tunnel at the test site, if that's the retarded thing you were suggesting.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They blew the top off the mountain and it began venting fission products over China.

      China told them "yo, knock it the f*** off. or we're gonna have Serious Problems"

      • by jcr ( 53032 ) <.moc.cam. .ta. .rcj.> on Saturday May 12, 2018 @04:46PM (#56601584) Journal

        Decades from now, I hope that some Chinese official lets us know in his memoirs just how close Kim Fat Ass came to getting a PRC bullet to the head.

        -jcr

        • The most definitive memoir will be Xi Jinping. Those will be quite an interesting read, now that he is ruler for life of China.
          • by hdyoung ( 5182939 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @06:14PM (#56601852)
            Xi Jinping's memoirs will probably be fairly uninteresting, for three reasons.

            First, he inherited his leadership position. Actually, this whole generation of Chinese leaders are called "princelings" because their fathers were leaders. None of them earned their title through any sort of true merit.

            Second, nothing that he's said or written has indicated any sort of really novel thinking. His famous "socialism with Chinese characteristics" that makes up the basis of his writings basically amounts to a form of hereditary, authoritatian oligarchy. Pretty blase, boring stuff that's been tried over and over again with little success.

            Third, he's a dictator. Dictators are fairly one-dimensional, unimaginative types who have very little to add to the sum of humanity's achievements. They don't do their countries any good and very rarely leave any good legacy behind.
            • You make it sound like he's walked a red carpet from the cradle straight into power, and his biography doesn't read quite like that:

              In 1963, when Xi was age 10, his father was purged from the Party and sent to work in a factory in Luoyang [wikipedia.org], Henan. In May 1966, Xi's secondary education was cut short by the Cultural Revolution [wikipedia.org], when all secondary classes were halted for students to criticise and fight their teachers. The Xi family home was ransacked by student militants and one of Xi's sisters, Xi Heping, was killed. Later, his own mother was forced to publicly denounce him as Xi was paraded before a crowd as an enemy of the revolution. Xi was aged 15 when his father was imprisoned in 1968 during the Cultural Revolution; Xi would not see his father again until 1972. Without the protection of his father, Xi was sent to work in Liangjiahe Village, Wen'anyi Town, Yanchuan County [wikipedia.org], Yan'an, Shaanxi, in 1969 in Mao Zedong [wikipedia.org]'s Down to the Countryside Movement [wikipedia.org]. After a few months, unable to stand rural life, he ran away to Beijing. He was arrested during a crackdown on deserters from the countryside and sent to a work camp to dig ditches.

              So... he might have been born a "princeling", but that did not guarantee him an easy ride into the Politburo. (Did you know that his first nine applications to join the CPC were rejected?)

              Third, he's a dictator. Dictators are fairly one-dimensional, unimaginative types who have very little to add to the sum of humanity's achievements. They don't do their countries any good and very rarely leave any good legacy behind.

              I think you're mischaracterising his desire for stability--which appears to be both genuine and well-founded--as "lack of imagination" and ignoring both his background and its historical context. The Chinese experience of the past 120 years or so has been nothing like the American one.

              XI is a very smart guy, and he's got balls [bbc.com]. Do not underestimate him.

        • Decades from now, I hope that some Chinese official lets us know in his memoirs just how close Kim Fat Ass came to getting a PRC bullet to the head.

          Rumor is that Kim had his uncle, Jang Song-thaek [wikipedia.org], executed in order to head off a Chinese sponsored palace coup. Jang was widely seen as "China's guy" within the NK government. China was upset about Jang's execution, but Kim sent them a very clear message that he was not going to be pushed around.

          • And then Xi called him to Beijing and gave him a very clear message to the effect that, if NK started lobbing nukes of its own accord at the US or its allies, NK was going to be on its own.

        • Apparently it's "Kim Fatty the Third" on Chinese social media...

      • What? That couldn't possibly have anything to do with it. Everyone knows it's all because of Trump's twitter insults and threats! Nobel! Nobel! Nobel!
    • Re:"Dismantled?" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DoktorMidnight ( 3469647 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @05:34PM (#56601738)

      Wasn't their test site already "dismantled" by a massive tunnel collapse?

      It is actually a little annoying that while the scientific and anti-proliferation communities/groups have been discussing what has happened to the testing site, you may only find a bare hint of that discussion in the regular news. But, as one commentator here has pointed out, if we all just close our eyes and pretend that the DPRK didn't shift an entire mountain on accident and create a potentially massive environmental disaster in its backyard, then it might help facilitate the peace process. Face gets saved, and actions of desperate necessity become grande gestures of peace. All the important people can get Nobel Peace prizes and feel good about themselves.

      Welcome to Diplomacy 101, where you don't have to feel good about what you did as long as the results are acceptable.

      • I've read a number of pieces on the rumors about the collapse in papers like the Washington Post and the Guardian. The journalists are being cautious because North Korea is a very hard country to get solid evidence of anything out of, but those papers did report it, and certainly no merely as "hints".

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          The whole thing, the whole USA North Korea thing, was a pile of bull puckey. It was all about tying up China in a defence of North Korea to block their 'COMMERCIAL' expansion, not war, simply business. This all blew up when China would not play and although the US government attempted to keep it going, it all fell flat. So then when that North Korea gambit failed, the US government went with a trade and tarriff war but when the Government of China threw in copyright duration into the mix, that collapsed to.

    • by zioncat ( 632849 )

      Wasn't their test site already "dismantled" by a massive tunnel collapse?

      No, North Korea's Nuclear Test Site Wasn't Destroyed in an Earthquake [nationalinterest.org]

      "The reporting has been mostly hot garbage," Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, tweeted after reviewing satellite imagery of the 7,200-foot Mount Mantap, where North Korea's Punggye-ri test site is located.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @04:27PM (#56601530)

    North Korea has announced plans to dismantle its nuclear test site between May 23 and 25.

    Just wait. Western nations are going take credit for this development; yet the North Korean leadership has stated that there's no need to test anymore as they've "mastered" how to place nuclear war heads onto ballistic missiles.

    This means there's no further need for "testing."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      North Korea has announced plans to dismantle its nuclear test site between May 23 and 25.

      Just wait. Western nations are going take credit for this development; yet the North Korean leadership has stated that there's no need to test anymore as they've "mastered" how to place nuclear war heads onto ballistic missiles.

      This means there's no further need for "testing."

      Even the US and Russians want to continue testing since there's always more to learn. If you go assuming every Trump thing is bullshit without checking the evidence you will end up being discredited. Instead you should look at b0s0z0ku's comment [slashdot.org], which shows that you were right - this is bullshit propaganda - but for different reasons. The test site has collapsed and is unusable so dismantling it is the right thing. What's scary is that this was reported just a couple of weeks ago. The assumption seems

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If anything got reported, it was speculation that was reported and maybe "simplified" circular reporting of that speculation. A test chamber collapsed, because there was a frigging thermonuclear explosion in there. This means this particular place is definitely ruined. You might dig in there again and detonate a nuke again and it would be a very bad idea. But there's a bit more room than that and there are *other* tunnels that are ready, one of which the West one was actually maintained so that a test can h

      • by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @06:26PM (#56601888)

        Once NK has a credible threat to deliver a nuke on target to the USA, they really don't have to "learn" anymore. It's not like they are going to first strike and take out the USA's retaliatory capability. All they need is a credible threat, which is what they've got now.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2018 @04:40PM (#56601568)

      The South Korean president and Foreign Minister both said that Trump was the primary reason for NK's capitulation.

      Lots of things are spin in this day and age, but sometimes there's an actual fact that gets out. You can still hate Trump and also appreciate that he might have ended the Korean War by shitposting on Twitter.

      • The South Korean president and Foreign Minister both said that Trump was the primary reason for NK's capitulation.

        But how would they know? That's just pure conjecture.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It is amusing that the South Korean leadership (who are directly talking with Kim) is giving Trump credit for ending the Korean War, and you are saying they don't know what they are talking about, yet somehow you do.

          • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

            Where was the parent giving Trump credit for anything? Sounds like the amusing fool is you.

      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        So far, all we've got is NK is talking and they aren't currently testing. They've been dying to have direct talks with the USA for decades, and trump is giving them that, basically for free. Let's save the "NK capitulation" talk for when they actually capitulate.

      • If Obamacare would have ended a 60 year war by shitposting on Twitter he would have been given another Nobel peace prize and weâ(TM)d never hear the end of how much of a genius he was.

      • by jrumney ( 197329 )
        Personally I think the primary reason is more likely to be the accident they had at their nuclear test site last September. They are closing it down now, because it isn't recoverable, and quite possibly they've already lost a lot of troops trying, to tunnel collapses and radiation poisoning. They have been defeated by their own inadequacies, and finally facing up to that.
      • by idji ( 984038 )
        Lol. He is capitulating because his nuclear mountain collapsed. Trump is only taking credit for it. South Korea is "playing" sycophant to the Narcissist in Chief in the hope of getting better conditions for themselves after the meeting in Singapore.
        Don't forget that Kim took his first trip to China by train a few months ago. Do you know what was said there? Maybe "Reconcile with the world you petulant child, before we turn you into a province or starve your people to death."
      • Wait for the trade war, it is brewing.

        77,000 Chinese workers learned about this last week (ZTE, who attempted to purchase Qualcomm).
        http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/0... [cnn.com]

        A 7 year ban on using US technologies, consider that. China will fund development of replacements, thus resolving the dependency (they probably already are/were).

        And Europe is leaning against unilateral sanctions on Iran (this is as interesting as the Chinese stuff, Europe is a different beast):
        https://www.reuters.com/articl... [reuters.com]

        Avocado's are an

    • Never underestimate the effect of Fox News and the millions who listen to Rush, Hanity, and others on Facebook and AM radio.

      Fox is the number one watched infonews station and it impacts people's views

      • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

        I love Fox News. Great source of news and commentary. Possibly the most fair and balanced source of news on the planet.

        So was that as hard to read as it was to actually type it? Fair and balanced my ass. But I do like Tucker Carlson. I love that little head tilt he does when the gears in his head start to turn. Reminds me of my favorite beagle when I would magically pull a milk bone out of his ear.

        "Whos a good boy? Who's a good boy?"

    • If this opportunity for opening channels of communication and cool, calm, collected negotiation is here, why not take it? If managed well by all sides, many more good things can come of it? Who thinks that nuclear armed countries spending time together, talking about non-proliferation isn't a good thing?
      • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

        It's not that people don't think its a good thing. It is they just don't want to give Trump credit for it, or for anything. We should be clear, this was a major event and Trump actions are what lead directly too it.

        If this does go down it will become a pivotal moment in history. It could literally reshape the political climate in the area. This could be the defining moment of Trump's legacy and progressives just hate to think that Trump isn't the incompetent baffoon they make him out to be.

        • You make it sound like Trump has some kind of carefully-crafted strategy for this and other foreign and domestic efforts. That's not what I'm seeing. Mostly I see a man who just breaks stuff to see what happens.

          Look at Trump's tweets about NK leading up to a few months ago, and tell me with a straight face that he was planning to be Mr. Nice Guy all along. This opportunity just landed in his lap, because NK is on the ropes due to so many other things that have precious little to do with him. Don't get me wr

        • My guess is that diplomacy between North Korea, South Korea, China, the USA, and a few others had already been quietly ongoing for months, if not years. More than likely without the president's knowledge. Not picking on the stable genius in the White House at the moment. This is pretty much how international diplomacy mostly works; long, slow, quiet, and boring and you never hear about it until right near the end when some politician, by sheer serendipity, takes the credit for it. Yes, you can become a Nobe
          • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

            That would be a good guess. That is pretty much how it always goes. The leaders on the stage strut around and bluster, while quiet diplomacy happens in the background. The strutting roosters step in and take the credit.

            But what makes TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome is every one affected by it wants to blame everything on Trump. For instance there is a thread about flat earth convention some where. And some one just had to bring up a comprising with Trump. Trump has nothing to do with flat earth or

    • This means there's no further need for "testing."

      If the North Korean leadership thinks that, then they know less about nuclear weapons than they think they do. A LOT less....

  • In fact, this very site has already had tests suspended indefinitely, likely because a mountain fell on it [scmp.com]. From the article:

    "The breakdown not only took off part of the mountain’s summit but also created a “chimney” that could allow fallout to rise from the blast centre into the air"

    So, um good job Kim, taking a desperate attempt at mitigating a massive environmental disaster that could have blanketed half a hemisphere in radioactive fallout and trying to parlay it into a gesture of goodw

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      So, um good job Kim, taking a desperate attempt at mitigating a massive environmental disaster that could have blanketed half a hemisphere in radioactive fallout and trying to parlay it into a gesture of goodwill?

      Well, why wouldn't he? He's got nothing to lose by doing so, and by playing to Trump's ego he might better be able to manipulate him.

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Imagine Trump playing poker...bwahahahahaha....Art of the Deal my ass. Kim will own him.

      • It's obvious what's going to happen. Ten years of building a new test facility, meanwhile cashing in on an economic cash influx from relaxing sanctions.

    • Exit ramp (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @04:44PM (#56601580) Homepage Journal

      In fact, this very site has already had tests suspended indefinitely, likely because a mountain fell on it [scmp.com]. From the article:

      "The breakdown not only took off part of the mountain’s summit but also created a “chimney” that could allow fallout to rise from the blast centre into the air"

      So, um good job Kim, taking a desperate attempt at mitigating a massive environmental disaster that could have blanketed half a hemisphere in radioactive fallout and trying to parlay it into a gesture of goodwill?

      One potential problem with Korean negotiations is the optics, and the tendency of people to dislike being proven wrong, losing face, and being shown as disingenuous or hypocritical.

      We could help the process along by giving Kim the widest exit-ramp from his situation. We don't have to be the sore, arrogant winners here.

      So let's suppose that the existing test site was partially destroyed by the collapse, and still held significant development capability. We don't know that this is *not* true.

      If the rest of the world were to take the positive view and assume the best, then this is Kim making a real effort to promote peace between the two nations.

      A highly respectable gesture, and offered before negotiations.

      Actually, that sounds 'kinda classy when you think about it.

      • It's worth mentioning that for all Trump's faults, he does have skill in making deals, so he may be OK in this situation (and for those people who say he made deals with people then later ripped them off by going into bankruptcy, in that case he was good at convincing people to get into a deal, even if it was bad for them. ) The follow-up may have trouble, but when it comes to making a deal, that is a skill he has. You might even say that persuasion and deal making are the essential skills for any huckster.
        • It's worth mentioning that for all Trump's faults, he does have skill in making deals,

          s/making deals/running cons/

          The follow-up may have trouble,

          Yes, that is the concern.

          • The real trouble is that people are utterly irrational in their hatred of politicians. I don't like the guy but get real. If you can't say something nice you're probably partisan.
            • The real trouble is that people are utterly irrational in their hatred of politicians. I don't like the guy but get real. If you can't say something nice you're probably partisan.

              I think both the Democratic and Republican parties are bullshit, and the Libertarian and Green parties while we're here, too. But Trump is a career criminal, and it's not clear he actually has a fortune aside from what he can get by going to Mar-a-Lago every weekend and charging the Secret Service extra to protect him. As an investor, he is outperformed by Paris Hilton, or pretty much any investment fund. If he has actually got a fortune, it's predicated entirely upon the suffering of others; sweatshops, fo

              • I didn't say he was good at managing money. I said he was good at making deals. While we're on the topic, he's also very good at drawing attention to himself. Most clowns disappear after a couple years. He's kept it on him for decades.
                • I didn't say he was good at managing money. I said he was good at making deals.

                  He's good at making illegal deals that hurt people, which are based on lies. We call those cons.

                  While we're on the topic, he's also very good at drawing attention to himself. Most clowns disappear after a couple years. He's kept it on him for decades.

                  Actually wealthy people don't want attention. He has to keep getting attention because he keeps running out of money, and his cons depend on it. He conned his way into his first loans by committing fraud against the banks and pretending to be someone else on the phone with them, claiming that his father's assets were his when they weren't. Trump's apparent success is not an accolade for Trump, it's an indictment

                  • I really don't care if he's wealthy or not. That's not the point and his problem not mine.
                    • I really don't care if he's wealthy or not. That's not the point and his problem not mine.

                      I note you didn't respond to anything actually important in my comment. Want to try again? Trump's lack of wealth is relevant, because it helps demonstrate what a liar he is, and I brought it up only in that context. Your parser is broken... or whatever is supposed to stop your knee from jerking.

                      Trump is a fraud and con-man. Trusting him on any level is useful idiot behavior.

                    • He also has skills. Can you continue to deny that?
                    • He also has skills. Can you continue to deny that?

                      I deny that he has skills at making deals. He only has skills at running cons. But those aren't the skills we need as a president. We need someone who can do real things; someone who can build things, not only destroy them.

                    • He only has skills at running cons. But those aren't the skills we need as a president.

                      Wrong. Those are *precisely* the best skills to have when dealing with nations like NK, Iran, Russia, China, etc.

                      Those are invaluable skills to have as a President engaged in foreign diplomacy.

                      Diplomacy: The art of saying "nice doggie!" while reaching for a stick.

                      Strat

                    • He only has skills at running cons. But those aren't the skills we need as a president.

                      Wrong. Those are *precisely* the best skills to have when dealing with nations like NK, Iran, Russia, China, etc.

                      Trump keeps finding himself broke because the long-term repercussions of his cons are that he is broke again. We don't want to find ourselves dealing with "NK, Iran, Russia, China, etc." again in a few years because of Trump's short-term fixes.

                    • Indeed we don't.
    • Re:Very Old News... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by isdnip ( 49656 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @06:26PM (#56601894)

      The most interesting account I saw was from, of all things, a Pakistani newspaper. It said that the test set off an earthquake. It caused a tunnel to collapse... with about 100 people in it. They may have been many of NK's nuclear scientists. And when they sent people in to try to rescue them, another collapse took out another hundred or so people. So the site is entirely unusable, and they may have lost many of their nuclear scientists in the process.

      I guess they had enough physicists but not enough geologists.

  • by RandomFactor ( 22447 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @04:35PM (#56601556)

    Punggye-ri may not even be usable at this point. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Punggye-ri+collapse [lmgtfy.com]

    Awfully nice of them to offer to decommission it at this point :-p

    This is a purely symbolic gesture to improve their optics.

  • Well Played (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hduff ( 570443 ) <hoytduff@gma i l . c om> on Saturday May 12, 2018 @05:15PM (#56601686) Homepage Journal

    Well played, North Korea. Well played . . .

  • ... because they don't need no more steenkin' tests.

    • by drnb ( 2434720 )

      ... because they don't need no more steenkin' tests.

      Actually because the mountain has collapsed upon their underground testing facilities, they can't test anymore.

  • Another Reason Why (Score:5, Informative)

    by Humbubba ( 2443838 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @08:05PM (#56602048)
    Scientists are certain that the last detonation at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site vaporized a vast chamber of rock more than a quarter mile below Mount Mantap's summit, and created a chimney-like structure that could leak radioactive fallout into the air. Before and after spaceborn monitoring, seismic readings, thermal imagery and radar snapshots reveal a complete 3-D surface displacement.

    The only thing this site is good for now is to give Kim Jong-un a diplomatic trump card.

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2143171/north-koreas-nuclear-test-site-has-collapsed-and-may-be-why-kim-jong-un [scmp.com]

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/958444/North-Korea-nuclear-missile-nuke-bomb-Punggye-ri-test-site [express.co.uk]

  • is that the site already collapsed and NK is building a NEW test site.
  • this just makes me wonder where they moved it to now.

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