A group of journalists arrived in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to cover the dismantling of its nuclear test site, which is scheduled between Wednesday and Friday.
Pyongyang invited journalists from China, Russia, the United States, UK and Republic of Korea earlier this month to witness the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where all six of the DPRK's nuclear tests were conducted.
However, journalists from the ROK were excluded at the last minute. The DPRK has refused to receive the list of ROK journalists, citing the ongoing ROK-U.S. air combat exercises codenamed Max Thunder.
The group arrived by charter flight from Beijing and will stay in Wonsan, a port city on the east coast of the DPRK, before traveling by train to the site, which is in the northeastern part of the country. The dismantling ceremony is expected to be held anytime between Wednesday and Friday, depending on the weather.
Despite the media coverage exclusion, ROK Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said his government paid due attention to the fact that the DPRK's pledge to dismantle the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, an initial measure for denuclearization, is proceeding as planned.
Cho expected that such an action would lead to the DPRK-U.S. summit, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, expecting the DPRK will take practical measures to achieve complete denuclearization and settle permanent peace on the peninsula.
ROK President Moon Jae-in arrived in Washington on Monday night to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump. Chung Eui-yong, Moon's top security adviser, told reporters on a flight to Washington that the ROK currently expected that the DPRK-U.S. summit would be held as agreed upon, though Seoul was preparing for several possibilities.
Chung said the ROK-U.S. summit would focus on talks between Moon and Trump on ways to make the DPRK-U.S. summit successful.
Shi Yongming, an Asia-Pacific studies researcher at the China Institute of International Relations, said the trip is Moon's third visit to the U.S. since he took office and his fifth meeting with Trump. This comes at a time the U.S. still does not fully trust the DPRK, and Seoul's frequent dialogues with Washington show its will to resolve the distrust.
Li Chengri, an expert of Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said denuclearization is a long-term issue that will not be solved in one or two dialogues.