Published: Wed, May 23, 2018
Life&Culture | By Peggy Hughes

North Korea allows South Korean journalists to cover nuke test closing

North Korea allows South Korean journalists to cover nuke test closing

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that a planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un depends at this moment on Kim.

President Donald Trump says he will know next week whether his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is still on, as his administration looks to keep the historic meeting on track.

South Korean President Moon Jae In flew to Washington for the day on Tuesday amid growing uncertainty about Mr Kim's goals for the summit after his regime made remarks critical of Mr Trump's vision of "total denuclearisation".

Amid the uncertainty, a White House team is headed to Singapore this weekend to work on logistics for the trip.

North Korea had announced it would use explosives to close test tunnels, expected on Thursday or Friday.

"We'll see what happens", Trump said.

But there has been increasing pessimism about the meeting after North Korea scrapped the inter-Korean talks and threatened to do the same for the Kim-Trump summit in protest of the South Korea-U.S. military drills and what it calls Washington's push for "one-sided" disarmament.

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. Including eight F-22 stealth fighter jets, about 100 aircraft from the allies' air forces participated in the exercise, according to the South Korean military.

This year, the organizers attempted to stage another march across the border, but the plan fell apart because of a USA -imposed ban on American trips to North Korea, as well as the reluctance of North Korean women's groups. On Wednesday it was escorting a group of worldwide reporters, including an Associated Press Television crew, to witness the closure of its atomic test site. "I think he is absolutely very serious", the U.S. president said.

"There are multiple components of their system that threatens America", Pompeo said, including missiles, rocket engines, production of fissile nuclear material, and the capacity to produce that fissile material.

However, based on his own discussions with the North Korean leader, Pompeo said he was hopeful that Trump could convince Kim to make a strategic decision to denuclearize.

"North Korea can say to the worldwide community that it did its best to achieve denuclearisation through negotiations but was pressured by the United States and couldn't do it", he said. Asked by lawmakers whether he had a commitment from Kim to make it part of a deal, Pompeo said, "We have broad outlines of what it is that each nation is prepared to do".

"We have three hostages back".

Trump has also expressed some trepidation about the summit after North Korea changed its tone in recent days.

"Our posture will not change until we see credible steps taken toward the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula", he said.

Pompeo was due to meet later Wednesday with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

"So we support Chairman Kim, President Moon and all they are doing to move Korean people and the world to unity of a process toward a peace treaty after over 70 years of division", she also added.

"The government will swiftly carry out necessary measures for the journalists such as granting approvals for visiting North Korea and providing transportation", the ministry said.

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