North Korea OKs South Korean journalists after Moon remarks

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  May 23, 2018 at 10:01 AM
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May 23 (UPI) -- North Korea may have approved travel for South Korean journalists at the last minute on Wednesday after watching South Korean President Moon Jae-in exchange views with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary for public relations, said Moon assured Trump of North Korea's sincere intentions, Seoul Economic Daily reported Wednesday.

"There is no need to doubt North Korea's willingness to hold the U.S.-North Korea summit," Yoon said, quoting remarks Moon made during discussions with Trump.

The South Korean government official also said it is necessary to discuss realizable and concrete measures toward denuclearization alongside regime security guarantees.

Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet on June 12 on Singapore, although on Tuesday at the White House Trump said there is a "substantial chance" the summit might not happen, after a recent series of complaints from North Korea over certain aspects of joint exercises and comments from national security adviser John Bolton.

A presidential Blue House official in Seoul also told reporters a North Korea security guarantee is the "only way" to relieve North Korean anxiety over complete denuclearization.

The sudden change of plans for South Korean journalists is being welcomed in Seoul.

Local newspaper Maeil Business reported Wednesday Yoon said Moon expects communications with North Korea will resume after Friday, the last day of joint U.S.-South Korea exercises Max Thunder.

The South Korean journalists left from Seoul Airport on a government VCN-235 transport aircraft at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. From the coastal city of Wonsan, all foreign journalists in North Korea boarded a special train at 7 p.m. for Punggye-ri, Newsis reported.

Journalists from CNN and Sky News who had arrived in Wonsan a day earlier said they were rescheduled because of the last-minute changes.

"What might be delaying us is the arrival of South Korean journalists, who we thought had been uninvited," tweeted Sky News' Tom Cheshire.

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