The site will reportedly be demolished after the underground tunnels are collapsed and blocked. Lewis quotes the North Koreans as saying:
Dismantlement of the nuclear test ground will be done in the following sequence-making all tunnels of the test ground collapse by explosion; completely blocking entries; removing all observation facilities, research institutes and structures of guard units on the ground.
While that does sound encouraging on the global peace stage, Lewis has also uncovered reasons to stay cautious.
He reports that a site in Pyongsong has seen the construction of a structure that is usually associated with the production or modification of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile.
The vertical structure would allow for a missile to be erected. The structure was first seen in November and was taken down in March and then recently rebuilt. Lewis writes:
So, although North Korea does seem to be getting ready to invite foreign delegations to the nuclear test site, it also appears to be continuing the expansion of the its ICBM force.
Of course, its possible the North Koreans are just jerking our collective chain. That’s certainly how we feel sometimes.