4 years ago

South Korean reporters to fly to North and witness dismantling of Punggye-ri nuclear test site

Arirang News
Arirang News
After days of uncertainty.... North Korea has finally accepted the list of South Korean reporters who were initially invited to witness the North's dismantling of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
Up until today... the South Korean government had tried numerous times to apply for visas for the journalists..., after the North maintained its "inaction" to accept the list,.... angry at South Korea's joint military drills with the U.S..
And for more on this... we connect live to our Lee Ji-won at the Foreign Ministry.
So Ji-won, what's the latest with this?

Ji-yoon during the daily phone call this morning via the Panmunjom hotline, South Korea once again gave its list of eight reporters who were supposed to go to the North on Tuesday for the dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
The North had previously been saying it hadn't received any orders regarding the visas, but finally this morning, Pyongyang "accepted the list" according to Seoul's Unification Ministry.
The South Korean journalists who came back to Seoul from Beijing early this morning after being left behind by the plane taking the other international reporters,... are currently at the Seoul Air Base in Seongnam preparing to fly to the North on a government aircraft.
At half past 12,... which is just a few minutes from now, the reporters will fly along the East Sea straight to Wonsan and join the rest of the reporters from the U.S., China, Russia and the UK.
The flight is expected to take about an hour.
But, as for their route home, the South Korean reporters will go to Beijing from Wonsan together with their international counterparts.

Alright, so then what's the schedule now? When will the team of reporters move from Wonsan to the nuclear test site?

Ji-yoon, the international media who had already arrived at Wonsan yesterday were supposed to get on a train to Punggye-ri last night,... but according to Sky News correspondent Tom Cheshire, a British reporter who is one of the international journalists on the trip, the plan got delayed due to "bad weather".
But seeing as how the reporters are still being told to wait this morning for the same reason, when the sky is relatively good and clear,... Cheshire says the delay could be due to the expected arrival of the South Korean journalists, whose name cards have been prepared at the press center.
Considering how the train ride is expected to take some 12 hours,...followed by another 4 hour bus ride and a 2 hour hike to the site, it's highly likely that they will have to leave Wonsan today to stay on schedule.

How are preparations going over at the Punggye-ri site?

It seems like preparations to welcome the reporters are all ready.
U.S.-based North Korea monitoring website, 38 North says a number of probable viewing areas for the reporters have been identified on satellite images.
One possible observation platform is located near the West Portal and has an improved pathway leading to it, expected

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