Foreign media depart on train for North Korean nuclear site

Doris Richards
May 23, 2018

News Brief: Hopes Dwindle For North Korea Meeting, Southern Primary Results, Olympics Scandal President Trump sounded a lot less optimistic on Tuesday when asked about plans for a summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

The demolition is due to take place sometime between Wednesday and Friday, depending on the weather.

Global journalists left on a marathon journey to a North Korean nuclear test site on Wednesday, after Pyongyang belatedly cleared a number of South Korean media to witness what it says will be the dismantling of its only nuclear test facility.

Last week Pyongyang threatened to pull out if Washington pressed for its unilateral nuclear disarmament.

North Korea had earlier refused to grant entry visas to the South Korean journalists, raising worries about the prospect for recently improving ties.

In an about-face, the North accepted the list of the South Korean journalists earlier in the day.

But the USA can not protect Kim from threats inside North Korea. I think we'll get those conditions.

Some in the United States government worry that Moon may be prepared to accept a less-stringent version of North Korean denuclearisation than Washington wants. "And there is the overlapping of the North Korean negotiators dealing with Seoul and Washington".

The report was delivered to Congress in April, one month after Trump agreed to meet Kim to discuss the North's denuclearization.

As Pyongyang permitted the South Korean media to cover the nuclear test site dismantling, expectations ran high for the suspended inter-Korean talks to be resumed.

Rod Rosenstein speaks during an event at the Newseum
Andrew Harnik APDeputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during an event at the Newseum

The reporters and television crews joined the other journalists from the United States, China, Russia and Britain in Wonsan, as they wait for a special train to the Punggye-ri test site in the northeastern mountainous area.

The North's decision to close the Punggye-ri nuclear test site has generally been seen as a welcome gesture by Kim to set a positive tone ahead of the summit.

Reporters from China, the U.S. and Russian Federation departed on a charter flight from Beijing on Tuesday for the North Korean city of Wonsan.

There was euphoria when the planned summit with the US was announced but since then there have been doubts on both sides. "The North Korean military, the General Staff Department, the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces, as well as the entire North Korean people, they are all potential enemies".

The North had declined to accept the list of South Korean reporters for days without providing any reason or explanation, giving rise to speculation that the foot-dragging might have to do with somewhat cooled relations between the two Koreas after the North's abrupt cancellation of inter-Korean talks scheduled for last week.

President Trump met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday.

"This is very much a typical approach to diplomacy that the North employs, demanding more and more before it makes any concessions - and as soon as the other side does make concession, then demanding even more", said James Brown, an associate professor at Tokyo's Temple University. "Do we really need denuclearisation as a premise for unification?" she said.

Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Americas division of the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), made his remarks in the wake of Mr Trump's comments on the issue last week.

He said in a statement Tuesday that the North's pledge to dismantle the site is proceeding as planned and "expects that such action (will) lead to the successful hosting of the North Korea-U.S. summit".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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