North Korea’s Nuclear Test Site Remains Operational

Kim plans to close site later in May

Citing new radar data, experts say that North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site remains intact and fully operational. The site is North Korea’s only nuclear test site, and North Korea has promised to close it later in May.

North Korea announced the site would be closed in April, as part of confidence building measures. North Korea has invited US experts and journalists from both the US and South Korea to oversee the shutdown. South Korea has also asked that UN monitors be present.

Some analysts were doubting the value of closing Punggye-ri, claiming there were reports the site had already partially collapsed and was effectively unusable. The confirmation from experts that the site, a hollowed out mountain, remains viable makes its closure much more important in the grand scheme of things.

North Korea already halted all nuclear and missile tests amid ongoing diplomatic efforts. Punggye-ri was the site of all six North Korean nuclear tests. North Korea is planning to negotiate a deal to dismantle their nuclear weapons program in return for a peace deal, and would thus no longer need the site to remain open.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.