North Korea To Publicly "Dismantle" Its Already Collapsed Nuclear Test Site On May 23-25

While Michael Cohen had impressive success in hustling various corporations such as Novartis, AT&T, Columbus Nova and Korean Aerospace into believing he held a royal flush due to his proximity with Donald Trump, and was paid millions in "consultancy" fees for his "leverage" (even though all that AT&T got out of its $600K payment was a lawsuit and an interview with Mueller, hence the company's admission that "hiring Cohen was a bit mistake"), nothing compares to the feat Kim Jong Un pulled off in the past month, when shortly after the collapse of North Korea's nuclear test site, which effectively precluded Pyongyang from nuclear research and development for the foreseeable future, Kim "voluntarily" agreed to "halt" the country's nuclear program, and leveraged what was basically an earthquake into a historic diplomatic accord and political detente with the US and president Trump.

As a reminder, on April 21, Kim said the site, Punggye-ri, built in a secluded mountain valley northeast of Pyongyang and the site for all six of the regime’s nuclear blasts, would be shuttered and further tests had been suspended.

As a further reminder, last week we reported that a team of international seismologists concluded that the Punggye-ri nuclear test site had became unusable following a catastrophic collapse last October that left more than 200 North Korean workers buried alive. The findings in turn confirmed the work of a team of Chinese seismologists who published their work shortly before North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un declared that he would shutter the site as a gesture of friendship toward South Korea and the US.

In other words, Kim had nothing to lose and everything to gain by announcing he was halting North Korea's nuclear program.

Fast forward to today when North Korea announced it would begin officially dismantling its already collapsed nuclear test site around May 23-25 when a ceremony will be held - "weather permitting" - to oversee the shut down, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said Saturday, quoting the Foreign Ministry. Pyongyang invited foreign journalists, including those from the US, to cover the event.

Map showing seismic data following a North Korean nuclear bomb test at an underground site; source: JUNG Yeon-Je 

The dismantling will involve collapsing all tunnels with explosions and blocking their entrances. All observation facilities, research buildings, and security posts will be removed, KCNA reported.

And while journalists from China, Russia, South Korea, the UK and the US, will be invited to cover the event, in light of the unknown amounts of highly toxic radioactive material that is set to blanket the nearby area following the "controlled demolition", they may want to reevaluate their presence.

Of course, the biggest irony in all of this is that North Korea's "dismantling" ceremony will merely put the finishing touches on what nature had already done in the past year: a recent study  found that North Korea’s largest underground nuclear test under Mt. Mantap has actually moved the mountain.

Based on the data, scientists have revealed that Mt. Mantap shrank by 0.5 meters (about 20 inches) and expanded by nearly 3.5 meters (11 feet). The study was conducted by analyzing regional and global seismic recordings, as well as before-and-after radar measurements of the mountain’s surface using imaging satellites.

It remains unclear if Trump has been made aware that Kim is only engaging the US in a denuclearization effort not because he wanted to, but because he had no other choice.