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North looks to be preparing for visit by nuclear inspectors

Nov 01,2018
North Korea is apparently preparing for a possible visit by outside inspectors to verify the shutdown of its nuclear test site, Seoul’s spy agency said Wednesday during a parliamentary audit.

At the closed-door audit session, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) told lawmakers that it is closely monitoring the North’s actions.

“Signs have been detected that North Korea is doing some preparations and intelligence-related activity over a possible visit by outside experts, as it shut down the nuclear test site and demolished some of the missile launching facilities at Dongchang-ri,” the NIS was quoted as saying by Rep. Kim Min-ki of the ruling Democratic Party.

The North’s leader agreed to permanently shut down its Dongchang-ri missile engine testing facility and missile launch pad under the observation of outside experts during his Pyongyang summit with President Moon Jae-in in September.

The lawmaker said that the spy agency is closely monitoring North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities, including the Yongbyon nuclear complex, and no major changes have been detected.

The NIS also said that North Korea has continued to engage in hacking attacks to steal information and money, breaking into email accounts and mining cryptocurrency to earn foreign currency.

After his fourth visit to North Korea in October, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had promised to let foreign inspectors visit the Punggye-ri site as soon as logistics-related details are worked out.

In May, the North demolished its nuclear test site before foreign journalists but without the presence of outside experts.

Yonhap