Eight South Korean journalists arrived in North Korea Wednesday after receiving a last-minute approval by the reclusive regime to observe the dismantling of the North's nuclear test site.
The South Koreans were supposed to have joined a group of foreign journalists from the United States, Britain, China and Russia Tuesday on a flight from Beijing to the North Korean city of Wonsan Tuesday. But Seoul says the group did not make the flight after Pyongyang declined to accept them.
South Korea's Unification Ministry says the journalists were finally accepted by the North Wednesday through a message sent by a cross-border communication channel at the truce village of Panmunjom. The eight journalists — four from a television network and four from a newswire service — flew directly to Wonsan aboard a military plane.
The group will spend up to 12 hours traveling by train, plus several more hours on a bus and on foot before they reach the to the Punggye-ri test site in a remote mountainous region.
The Punggye-ri site, where North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests, is scheduled to be dismantled between Wednesday and Friday, depending on weather conditions.
North Korea announced recently it would demolish the Punggye-ri site as a goodwill gesture ahead of the planned June 12 summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. But Pyongyang abruptly canceled high-level talks scheduled for last week to protest the ongoing joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.
Pyongyang has since indicated it might call off the meeting due to disagreements on conditions by the United States for unilateral denuclearization.