North Korea denies entry to South Korean scribes headed for N-site dismantling event
The historic Korean Summit is not even a month old but already the relation between North and South Korea has started witnessing fresh fault lines. On Tuesday, May 22, journalists from the South were left out from the flight to the North as the Kim Jong-un regime took some 20 media representatives from four countries to witness the dismantling of its Punggye-ri nuclear facility, the Korea Herald reported.
North Korea had announced earlier this month that it would conduct the dismantling in front of local and foreign journalists to ensure transparency of its denuclearisation initiative but after it cancelled an official-level meeting with South Korea on May 16 and also threatened to scrap the proposed June 12 summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump to protest the continuation of US-led air drill with South Korea on the Korean soil, things started to look gloomy again. The Kim regime blasted South Korea and subsequently cancelled permission to its journalists to attend the site dismantling event.
Pyongyang did not issue visas to South Korean journalists who were initially invited to cover the event - which is expected to happen between Wednesday and Friday, but did not explain the reasons, the Korea Herald report said.
The journalists who went to North Korea in a chartered plane from Beijing were from the US, China, Russia and the UK, the Herald said, adding that they went to Wonsan where a press centre would be located.
The South Korean government tried to notify the North of the names of its reporters - eight of them through a hotline at the truce village of Punmunjeom, where Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in - on Tuesday morning but North Korean officials turned it down, according to a government official, the Herald report said, adding that South's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon expressed regret over the matter though still remained positive about the dismantling process.
"Still, we note that the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, an initial step to denuclearization the North promised, is proceeding as scheduled, and we expect it to lead to a successful hosting of the North Korea-US summit," he said in a statement, the Herald said.