North Korea allows South Korean journalists to cover nuke test closing

President Donald Trump meets with South Korean President Moon Jae In in the Oval Office of the White House Tuesday

"South Korean journalists have now joined foreign journalists there, but there are no experts among them, they were not invited to witness it because many of them believe that dismantling the site may destroy valuable evidence".

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.

Last week Pyongyang threatened to pull out of that summit if Washington pressed for its unilateral nuclear disarmament. He says preparations continue for a planned June 12 summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump said on Tuesday there was a "substantial chance" the summit would not take place.

Trump and South Korea's leader met in the Oval Office on Tuesday, and President Moon Jae-in says "the fate and the future of the Korean Peninsula hinge" on the summit set for June 12 in Singapore.

"(We) will do our best to convey all on-site situations fully, swiftly and precisely, as we are going there as South Korean media representatives to cover the first step of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", a pool reporter said just before departure.

He said if an agreement was reached, China, Japan and South Korea would invest large sums to "make North Korea great".

And the North threatened to abandon the planned Trump-Kim meeting over U.S. insistence on denuclearising the peninsula. The US president said that Kim should, for his own good, strike a deal to get rid of its nuclear weapons in exchange for economic opportunities.

But as the date draws near, Trump's divergence from his top aides, the differences between the two sides and these high stakes are coming into sharp relief.

Responding to questions, Sanders said the President has laid out what he wants to see: a commitment to denuclearisation.

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Pyongyang has vowed it will never give up its nuclear deterrence until it feels safe from what is sees as U.S. aggression.

On Saturday, the North Korean Red Cross demanded that the women be sent back to Pyongyang and repeated the accusation that the women had been kidnapped.

Previous similar gestures by the North have been rapidly reversed when the global mood soured.

But others say the fact that North Korea agreed to destroy the site without preconditions or asking for something in return from Washington is significant.

Go Myong-hyun, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said both sides were playing "a game of chicken" in the run up to the summit "to gain an upper hand in negotiations".

North Korea is also said to be making efforts to fix and test the safety of a 270-kilometer stretch of railway between Wonsan and Kilju in North Hamgyong Province, where the Punggye-ri site is located.

North Korea has said it will hold a ceremony to mark the closure of the key test site between Wednesday and Friday, depending on weather conditions, and that journalists from China, Russia, the United States, Britain and South Korea will be allowed to conduct on-the-spot coverage of the event.

A handful of foreign journalists, including from South Korea, were originally invited to attend. The journalists from the MBC television network and News1 wire service took a special government flight later on Wednesday to go to the North's northeastern coastal city of Wonsan, according to Seoul's Foreign Ministry.

The train trip was expected to take 8-12 hours, followed by several hours on a bus and then an hour hike to the site itself.

The South Korean journalists were left in Beijing and eventually returned to Seoul as the North refused to grant them visas.

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