Foreign media depart for North Korean nuclear site


Associated Press

WONSAN, North Korea

A group of foreign journalists departed by train Wednesday to watch the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear test site after eight reporters from South Korea received last-minute permission to join them.

The remote site deep in the mountains of the North’s sparsely populated northeast interior is expected to have a formal closing ceremony in the next day or two, depending on the weather. The closing was announced by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ahead of his planned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump next month.

The train trip was expected to take 8-12 hours, followed by several hours on a bus and then an hour hike to the site itself.

The journalists were put in sleeping cars on the train, four bunks to a compartment. The compartments had windows covered with blinds, and the journalists were told not to open the blinds during the journey.

Media were also expected to pay their own costs for the trip. The train fare was $75 per person round trip. Each meal was $20.

North Korea had earlier refused to grant entry visas to the South Korean journalists after the North cut off high-level contact with Seoul to protest joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. But North Korea accepted the list of the South Korean journalists to attend via a cross-border communication channel.

The journalists from the MBC television network and News1 wire service took a special government flight later Wednesday to go to the North’s northeastern coastal city of Wonsan. The other journalists from the United States, the UK, China and Russia arrived in Wonsan on Tuesday.

The group includes an Associated Press Television crew.

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