North Korea on Wednesday accepted a list of South Korean journalists to cover the dismantlement of Pyongyang’s nuclear test site, allowing the media to travel to observe the high-profile demolition event, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said. The ministry handed over the list of journalists – four from a newswire and four from a broadcaster – to the North through the communication channel at the truce village of Panmunjom at 9 a.m., and the North accepted it, according to the ministry.
“The government welcomes that our press corps has been allowed to participate in the event marking the dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site,” Yonhap News Agency quoted ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun as saying. “We expect that this will serve as a starting point for accomplishing complete denuclearisation as swiftly as possible through the US-North Korea summit and talks at various channels,” he added.
The date for the event is yet to be fixed, but it is expected to happen between Wednesday and Friday depending on weather conditions. North Korea announced in earlier this month that it will publicly shut down the test site in a ceremony to which media from South Korea, China, Russia, the US and Britain will be invited to cover.
The North had declined to accept the list of South Korean reporters for days without providing any reason or explanation. The Punggye-ri nuclear site, located in a mountainous region of the North, is where the North carried out all six of its nuclear detonation tests, reports Yonhap News Agency. The demolition is deemed a meaningful step toward the complete denuclearization affirmed by the leaders of the two Koreas during their summit last month.
The move comes ahead of the highly anticipated summit talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. The unprecedented meeting is set to take place in Singapore next month.