South Korean reporters leave for coverage on North Korea's dismantling of Punggye-ri nuclear test site

  • 6 years ago
It was this week that North Korea promised to invite reporters from five countries to watch the dismantlement of its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri.
And the first batch of South Korean reporters left for Beijing this morning, for a stopover, before hopefully taking the short flight to the North.
But they are traveling under a cloud of uncertainty as the regime has not changed its stance of refusing to accept South Korean journalists' visa applications, a must for them to enter North Korea to cover the event.
For more, we connect live to our Lee Ji-won at Seoul's foreign ministry.
Jiwon, so still no word from North Korea?

Nope Se-min, not yet.
Seoul's Unification Ministry sent the list of reporters to the North once again this morning for their confirmation,... but still no response.
As for the reporters who left this morning,... four South Korean reporters from news agency, News1 arrived in Beijing moments ago.
The second batch of broadcast reporters are to leave Seoul in the afternoon.
Those already in Beijing are expected to contact the North Korean embassy in Beijing to try and get a visa for their travel to the North on Tuesday.
But whether or not they will actually be given a visa remains up in the air as the North did not accept the list of South Korean reporters... or questions on how the event will be arranged, which were delivered through the Panmunjom channel late last week. The sudden rift between the two Koreas comes despite the recent reconciliatory mood. It appears to be due to South Korea-U.S. joint military drills and a former North Korean diplomat who defected to the South openly criticizing the regime last week at South Korea's National Assembly.

So the South Korean reporters are still in limbo,... but there are journalists coming in from other countries like the U.S., China, Russia and the UK. Have they been given the greenlight?

Yes Semin, what we know so far is that reporters from ABC and CNN, were asked by the North to gather at the North Korean embassy in Beijing on Tuesday morning.
If all goes as planned, the reporters are expected to leave for North Korea's Wonsan Kalma airport by a chartered plane on Tuesday.
Wonsan is where the reporters will have their accommodation and there will also be a press center there.
From Wonsan, the reporters will take a train to get to the test site which could take place anyday between Wednesday to Friday.
The reporters are expected to leave North Korea on Saturday or Sunday.
Meanwhile, U.S.-based North Korea monitoring website, 38 North reports that the dismantling of the test site has begun.
According to satellite images, 38 North says several key operational support buildings have been razed, and some of the rails for the mining carts that go in and out of the tunnels have also been removed.
Back to you Semin.