THE international community is unanimous in welcoming and appreciating the announcement made by North Korea that it will begin dismantling its nuclear test site in less than two weeks in a ceremony to be attended by foreign journalists. According to state news agency KCNA, Pyongyang was taking technical measures to carry out the process from May 23-25, 2018.
The latest move is part of a series of measures and initiatives by the North aimed at reducing tension on the Korean Peninsula and took place three weeks ahead of meeting of North Korean President Kim Jong-un with US President Donald Trump while diplomats believe this would help create conducive atmosphere to make the talks successful and result oriented. Kim has already met his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in in April this year in a historic summit where the two leaders signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula. The document commits the two countries to a nuclear-free Peninsula and talks to bring the Korean War to a formal end. The plan to dismantle the nuclear test site signals readiness of the North to pursue the path of denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula but understandably it would require cooperation and encouragement from other parties as well. Destruction of the test site in a verifiable manner is an indication of the firm resolve not to carry out further testing of its nuclear devices which has been a bone of contention between the North and some regional and global powers. The announcement would surely minimise any serious conflict especially in view of threatening posture of the United States that has vowed to deal with the threat firmly. Already, the United States and South Korea have welcomed the move to destroy the test site and hopefully, the two sides would take further measures to reduce tension and promote a cooperative framework. We have been emphasising in these columns that serious and sensitive issues must not be resolved through use of force or coercion. It is highly likely that the North would respond positively if the US President and his allies come out with an incentives package to address North Korea concerns.