North Korea publicizes nuclear dismantlement in state media

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  May 22, 2018 at 9:35 AM
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May 22 (UPI) -- North Korean media is promoting the upcoming demolition of Punggye-ri ahead of the event and has permitted foreign journalists to air broadcasts of their arrival in Wonsan, a coastal city south of the nuclear test site.

In a sign indicating Pyongyang is serious about ending activities at Punggye-ri, following a decision to unilaterally ban South Korean journalists, North Korea said it is exercising openness to the outside world.

"In order to ensure transparency, we are setting forth practical measures for the dismantlement of the northern region's test site," KCNA stated.

The North Korean news agency confirmed foreign journalists are in the country and quoted China's Xinhua news agency and Russia's Tass to draw attention to international interest in the event.

KCNA also quoted a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman as saying "the measure this time shows a commitment to resolving the issues of the Korean Peninsula."

Kim Dong-yup, a South Korean professor at Kyungnam University's Far East Institute, said North Korea wants to eliminate suspicions it is not being truthful.

"It is spreading the message to eliminate any suspicions in the international community that it is not being sincere, taking its time or using deception," Kim told The Korea Times.

North Korea is also trying to divide perceptions between South Korea and the rest of the world, after disappointing Seoul with a decision to ban South Korean journalists, Kim said.

Foreign journalists in North Korea began to report from Wonsan on Tuesday, including a team from British broadcaster Sky News.

Sky News reported the team was accompanied by a North Korean minder, as they were led to a "shiny new airport" in Wonsan, a city that is "more like a resort."

The report also stated the reporters will be taking a 12-hour train ride into the mountains to witness the dismantlement.

China's state-owned CCTV reported the group will leave for Punggye-ri at 7 p.m. Korea time.

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