CBRN Assessment

North Korea willing to ‘permanently dismantle’ Yongbyon nuclear site

21 September 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after signing the ‘Pyongyang Joint Declaration’ during an inter-Korean summit held on 19 September in Pyongyang. Source: Via South Korean Presidential Office

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has expressed his willingness to continue to take measures towards his countryʼs denuclearisation, including the permanent dismantlement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, where a 5 MWe plutonium-producing reactor is located.

The move was announced on 19 September as part of a three-day inter-Korean summit, held in the North Korean capital, during which Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed the ‘Pyongyang Joint Declaration’.

Among other things, the document states that North Korea is willing to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear research facility “as [long as] the United States takes corresponding measures in accordance with the spirit of the June 12 US-DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] Joint Statement” signed by Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

The declaration, published by South Korea’s presidential office, states that Seoul and Pyongyang share the view that the Korean Peninsula “must be turned into a land of peace free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threats, and that substantial progress toward this end must be made in a prompt manner”.

To achieve this, the North also agreed to “permanently dismantle the Dongchang-ri missile engine test site and launch platform [also known as the Sohae Satellite Launch Station or the Tongchang-ri Missile and Space Launch Facility] under the observation of experts from relevant countries”.

The five-point declaration also states that the two sides agreed to expand the cessation of military hostility in regions of confrontation – such as the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) – “into the substantial removal of the danger of war across the entire Korean Peninsula and a fundamental resolution of the hostile relations”.

Both sides also reiterated their intention to turn the 65-year-old armistice treaty into a peace treaty to formally put an end to the 1950–53 Korean War.

The two countries also agreed to engage “in constant communication and close consultations” to review the implementation of the previously signed Panmunjom Declaration “and prevent accidental military clashes by promptly activating the Inter-Korean Joint Military Committee”.

Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at

(353 of 953 words)