Korean journalists in N. Korea to cover nuke-testing site demolition

  • Korean journalists in N. Korea to cover nuke-testing site demolition

Korean journalists in N. Korea to cover nuke-testing site demolition

North Korea has suspended talks with the South and threatened to pull out of an upcoming summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, but the invitation to media was seen as an indication that its unexpected offer to end its nuclear tests still held.

When North Korea announced earlier this month it would dismantle the Punggy-ri site, it said it would invite foreign media outlets from five countries including South Korea to observe the event.

A senior South Korean official told reporters on condition of anonymity: "Given the North's thinking and statements alike, we would be able to turn around the mood after the Max Thunder drills from the current standoff and restart dialogue".

A special South Korean government flight was to take the journalists to North Korea later Wednesday. Trump indicated he believes the meeting will take place, but left open the possibility it would be delayed or even cancelled if a fruitful outcome doesn't seem likely. "North Korea summit and talks at various channels", he added.

President Trump got a little ahead of himself regarding North Korea, and Tuesday's meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea confirms that he understood that.

The DPRK warned last week that Pyongyang would have to reconsider whether to attend the Singapore meeting if the United States "only wants to press the DPRK to abandon its nuclear arsenal".

On Seoul's streets Wednesday, South Koreans were divided on whether they thought Pyongyang was honest.

The list of the South Korean journalists selected to witness the shutdown was at last accepted by North Korea in the morning, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry.

The Punggye-ri site, where North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests, is scheduled to be dismantled between Wednesday and Friday, depending on weather conditions.

Korean journalists in N. Korea to cover nuke-testing site demolition

The North unilaterally postponed the high-level talks with the South meant to discuss follow-up measures to the April 27 inter-Korean summit, taking issue with ongoing joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States. Trump threatened to "totally destroy NorthKorea" if necessary and derided Kim as a madman, calling him "little rocket man", while Kim said the USA president was mentally deranged.

Technical experts have not been invited to the decommissioning of the site, raising further questions whether the gesture is for show.

He said the destruction of the Punggye-ri test site would win Pyongyang worldwide sympathy even if the summit collapses.

It remains uncertain when the train will depart for the nuclear-testing site in Kilju, North Hamgyong Province.

That claim appeared to be given some credibility when a South Korean television station broadcast an interview with four of the waitresses earlier this month.

Go Myong-hyun, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said both sides were playing "a game of chicken" in the run up to the summit "to gain an upper hand in negotiations".

Reporters from China, Britain, the U.S. and Russian Federation yesterday flew from Beijing to the North Korean city of Wonsan, from where they will travel for some 20 hours up the east coast by train and bus to the remote test site.

"You never know about deals", he said. "This is something they talk about on a daily basis and will continue to in preparation", she said.

"To many people, it looks as if the South Korean government is simply agreeing to every North Korean demand and defectors here are very nervous", he said. The other journalists from the United States, the UK, China and Russian Federation arrived in Wonsan on Tuesday.