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South's press snubbed by North

23 May, 2018, 16:55 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • The White House has minted a commemorative coin with Kim Jong Un's face on it

About two dozen journalists from Western and Chinese news organizations arrived in North Korea on Tuesday to witness the closure of its nuclear test site, an indication that the shutdown will go ahead amid renewed diplomatic uncertainty. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said the group had arrived at the airport in the east coast city of Wonsan.

Foreign news media outlets heading to the North include Sky News from the UK, CNN from the US, CCTV from China and RT from Russian Federation. South Korean reporters were unable to join the trip because the North denied their entry in protest at an ongoing Seoul-Washington military drill and an anti-Pyongyang speech in Seoul by a high-ranking North Korean defector.

Many experts believe North Korea's recent warning it would pull out of the talks is a shift in rhetoric fully consistent with past attempts at serious dialogue with the Hermit Kingdom-and demonstrate it is unwilling to negotiate in good faith.

Some in the US government worry that Moon may be prepared to accept a less-stringent version of North Korean denuclearization than Washington wants and could be open to faster sanctions relief for Pyongyang, the officials said.

The Punggye-ri site is where North Korea carried out all six of its nuclear weapon tests, including the most powerful one last September.

Cheon said this is North Korea's idea of denuclearization, while the United States has been using the term to mean total nuclear disarmament, or as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo puts it, "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization".

North Korea plans to destroy a nuclear test site in front of a handful of foreign journalists on Tuesday.

North Korea did not issue visas to South Korean journalists initially invited to cover the closing of the Punggye-ri nuclear site, which it said would happen between Wednesday and Friday, without elaborating on reasons.

After North Korea threatened to withdraw from the upcoming face-to-face summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, some media outlets reported that Trump was becoming concerned about the political risks if the talks were to fall through-and considering not going ahead with them.

"We hope that North Korea is going to be transparent like they said", Will Ripley, a CNN correspondent based in Hong Kong, told reporters before leaving from Beijing.

Chung told reporters that the South Korea-U.S. summit was aimed at frankly exchanging opinions between leaders of the two countries about how to manage situations, saying the summit would be focused on talks between Moon and Trump. From Wonsan, they will travel to the test site by bus. "They must know what price they will be made to pay".

North Korea could build a new site if it decides it needs more testing or could dismantle the tunnels into Punggye-ri's Mount Mantap in a reversible manner.

It accused the United States of trying in the past to "militarily occupy the whole of Korea by mobilizing the huge aggression forces", including its ground forces, Air Force and Pacific Fleet, and South Korean and Japanese forces.

"I think that Trump imagined he would go into this meeting and be able to have a historic breakthrough with a deal, but it's clear he's starting to realize it won't be as easy as he imagined", said Jean Lee, director of the North Korea program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a former Associated Press bureau chief in Pyongyang.

President Donald Trump should proceed with the June 12th summit with Kim Jung-Un. Both are eager to support the North Korean economy and defuse the tensions around the regime's nuclear program through diplomacy and negotiation. Trump suggested last week that Beijing, which Washington is at odds with over trade, may be influencing North Korea's hardened stance. Some of Kim Jong Un's advisors may now be encouraging Kim to work harder at getting both: security assurances and an eventual normal relationship with the USA and acceptance as a nuclear weapons state, at least for an interim period, which could then eventually become de jure recognition as a nuclear weapons state.



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