UN chief: Experts should have witnessed N.Korea test site closure

AFP , Thursday 24 May 2018

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres presents his agenda for disarmament during a confrerence at the University of Geneva on May 24, 2018 in Geneva. (AFP photo)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday welcomed the reported closure of North Korea's nuclear test site but said international experts should have been there to witness the dismantling.

"It is regrettable that international experts were not invited to witness the site closing," Guterres said in a statement.

Foreign journalists invited at the Pungyye-ri test facility in North Hamgyong province described a series of explosions throughout the day, three of them in entry tunnels to the underground facility, followed by blasts that demolished a nearby barracks and other structures.

Guterres expressed hope that "this confidence-building measure will contribute to ongoing efforts towards sustainable peace and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The Pungyye-ri site has been the staging ground for all six of the North's nuclear tests, including its latest and by far most powerful one in September last year, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb.

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