As summit looms, North Korean media return to angry tone


USA and South Korean officials are also closely watching to see if the North goes ahead with a pledge to destroy its Punggye-ri nuclear test site near the Chinese border this week.

Foreign news media outlets heading to the North include Sky News from the UK, CNN from the US, CCTV from China and RT from Russian Federation.

"We believe there is a 99.9 per cent chance that the North Korea-US summit will be held as scheduled", Chung Eui-yong told reporters on the aeroplane carrying Mr Moon to Washington.

Inter-Korean travel is strictly restricted by both Seoul and Pyongyang, and the South has failed to confirm the trip by its journalists after North Korea abruptly canceled high-level bilateral talks last week, blaming military drills on the peninsula involving the U.S.

The foreign correspondents will be lodged in Wonsan, a port city in North Korea's eastern Kangwon Province, after being invited by Pyongyang for the on-site coverage of the dismantlement of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Hamgyong Province between Wednesday and Friday. It was Moon's government that delivered the initial invitation from Kim for a meeting, and South Korea has been pushing the US toward a peaceful resolution to the nuclear crisis.

"I think the main plot now involves the United States and North Korea".

State media unleashed three strongly worded commentaries slamming Seoul and Washington for the maneuvers and demanding Seoul take action against defectors it claimed were sending anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets across the border.

Kim's pledged to shut down the test site is said to ensure transparency, according to Moon's office.

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It unilaterally announced that moratorium ahead of a summit between leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. South Korean president Moon Jae-in was scheduled to meet Trump in Washington later on Tuesday, as USA officials try to figure out whether North Korea, which has pursued nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of United Nations sanctions, is serious about negotiating a deal on denuclearisation.

South Korean reporters stand outside the closed gates of the North Korean embassy in Beijing, Monday. From Wonsan, they will travel to the test site by bus.

There has been no indication that North Korea will cancel plans to dismantle the test site, an important gesture of goodwill. "They must know what price they will be made to pay".

It accused the United States of trying in the past to "militarily occupy the whole of Korea by mobilizing the huge aggression forces", including its ground forces, Air Force and Pacific Fleet, and South Korean and Japanese forces.

And it could be a deciding factor in whether the Trump-Kim summit moves forward. Visa fees to North Korea were around $160 in the past for American citizens.

Since then, there has been a landmark series of intra-Korean meetings, two trips to Pyongyang by Mike Pompeo - first as Central Intelligence Agency director then as America's top diplomat - and three American citizens have been released from the North. The two countries are traditional allies, but their relationship was strained over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests and China's enforcement of United Nations sanctions that have choked the North's economy, especially fuel. The global negotiations were attended by the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and North Korea in a bid to curb Pyongyang's nuclear development.

Trump's newfound hesitation appeared to reflect recent setbacks in efforts to bring about reconciliation between the two Koreas, as well as concern whether the self-proclaimed dealmaker can deliver a nuclear accord with the North's Kim Jong Un. Some of Kim Jong Un's advisors may now be encouraging Kim to work harder at getting both: security assurances and an eventual normal relationship with the US and acceptance as a nuclear weapons state, at least for an interim period, which could then eventually become de jure recognition as a nuclear weapons state.