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North Korea said they will close their nuclear test site in May. They have been conducting tests at the site since 2006 but it is believed that the site, which is partly in a mountain, collapsed in September 2017. North Korea’s nuclear testing has long been a point of contention between it and the rest of the world.

Foreign journalists have been invited to a ceremonial closing of the site which is unusual because foreign journalists are normally not allowed to enter North Korea. Nuclear scientists from South Korea and the US were also originally invited but it isn’t certain if they will still be there as there was no mention of them in the latest statement. The ceremony will include the collapsing of tunnels and the removal of observation facilities, research buildings and security posts. 

Experts believe that North Korea is closing the site in preparation for Kim Jong Un meeting Donald Trump in June. However, that is now under serious doubt as North Korea has been threatening to cancel the meeting. The meeting, which would be the first ever between a sitting US president and North Korean leader, is set to take place in Singapore. Donald Trump has stated, via a tweet, that his goal for the meeting is to achieve world peace.

It is unclear exactly what North Korea wants from the meeting but a key point for the US will likely be the complete denuclearisation of North Korea. It is believed that recent comments on denuclearisation from Donald Trump’s administration have been the reason for North Korea’s shift in attitude.

The Trump-Kim meeting comes after months of warming relations between North and South Korea. A historic summit in April between Moon Jae In and Kim Jong Un was the first time a North Korean leader had stepped foot in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Trump’s announcement that the meeting with Kim Jong Un would take place came hours after he met with three US prisoners that had been released by North Korea this month. 

North Korea has not been very trustworthy in the past so experts are unsure if the meeting will work. This has been exacerbated by North Korea’s recent attitude towards the meeting.

 

Difficult words

Conduct: To organise and do something.

Point of contention: A thing which people argue over and disagree.

Ceremonial: An event that is held in an official and formal way.

Statement: A strong or official way of saying something.

Threaten: To say you will do something aggressive if something is or isn’t done.

Administration: The people responsible for running a business or organisation.

Relations: How two or more people are linked and act towards each other.

Trustworthy:  Someone that you can believe because they don’t lie.

Exacerbated: To make something worse.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Conduct A. Declaration
2. Point of contention B.Aggravated
3. Ceremonial C. Management
4. Statement D. Behaviour
5. Threaten E. Reliable
6. Administration F. An individual detail
7. Relations G. Intimidate
8. Trustworthy H. Formal
9. Exacerbated I. Association

True or False?

1. North Korea started testing nuclear weapons last year. T / F

2. Scientists think the test site has already been destroyed.  T / F

3. International journalists have been uninvited to the ceremony.  T / F

4. North Korea wants people to believe they are serious about closing the site.  T / F

5. The US wants North Korea to keep their nuclear weapons.  T / F

6. South Korea will definitely attend the ceremony. T / F

7. People are not sure what North Korea wants from the meeting. T / F

8. Donald Trump might have been the reason for North Korea’s change in attitude. T / F

9. The presidents of North and South Korea have met once a year for the past ten years.  T / F

10. North Korea freed three U.S. prisoners. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. nuclear / they / said / May / North / in / Korea / site / will / their / test / close

2. collapsing / will / and / tunnels / removal / of / observation / The / the / include / ceremony / the / facilities / of

3. in / not / North / very / been / Korea / trustworthy / the / has / past

4. invited / ceremonial / have / a / of / the / Foreign / closing / site / been / journalists / to

5. site / conducting / 2006 / They / been / at / the / have / tests / since

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

Mention Denuclearisation Exacerbated
Experts Announcement Conducting
Ceremonial Meeting Stated

North Korea said they will close their nuclear test site in May. They have been _____________ tests at the site since 2006 but it is believed that the site, which is partly in a mountain, collapsed in September 2017. North Korea’s nuclear testing has long been a point of contention between it and the rest of the world.

Foreign journalists have been invited to a _______________ closing of the site which is unusual because foreign journalists are normally not allowed to enter North Korea. Nuclear scientists from South Korea and the US were also originally invited but it isn’t certain if they will still be there as there was no ___________ of them in the latest statement. The ceremony will include the collapsing of tunnels and the removal of observation facilities, research buildings and security posts.

___________ believe that North Korea is closing the site in preparation for Kim Jong Un meeting Donald Trump in June. However, that is now under serious doubt as North Korea has been threatening to cancel the meeting. The meeting, which would be the first ever between a sitting US president and North Korean leader, is set to take place in Singapore. Donald Trump has __________, via a tweet, that his goal for the meeting is to achieve world peace.

It is unclear exactly what North Korea wants from the meeting but a key point for the US will likely be the complete ___________________ of North Korea. It is believed that recent comments on denuclearisation from Donald Trump’s administration have been the reason for North Korea’s shift in attitude.

The Trump-Kim __________ comes after months of warming relations between North and South Korea. A historic summit in April between Moon Jae In and Kim Jong Un was the first time a North Korean leader had stepped foot in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Trump’s ________________ that the meeting with Kim Jong Un would take place came hours after he met with three US prisoners that had been released by North Korea this month.

North Korea has not been very trustworthy in the past so experts are unsure if the meeting will work. This has been _______________ by North Korea’s recent attitude towards the meeting.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you know about North Korea destroying their nuclear weapon site?
4. Do you think countries should have nuclear weapons?
5. Do you think a denuclearised world is possible?
6. What do people in your country think about Kim Jong Un?
7. Do you think North and South Korea will reunify in the future?
8. Should military force be used in North Korea if an agreement can’t be made?
9. What do people in your country think about North Korea?
10. People say that America acts as a “world police” Do you agree with this statement?
11. What do you know about North and South Korea?
12. Do you think it is dangerous to go to South Korea?
13. Do you think North Korea is a legitimate threat to the world?
14. Would you like to travel to North Korea?
15. Do you think peace could be achieved if America had a different President?
16. Is there anywhere in the world where you think peace is impossible?
17. America just abandoned a denuclearisation deal that it made with Iran. Can America be trusted to make deals like this?
18. Kim Jong Un is 34 years old, can he live his whole life as an enemy to the world?
19. What is the biggest challenge your country has faced?
20. What questions would you like to ask Kim Jong Un?