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A television news screen in Seoul shows footage of  the North Korean leader and the US President ahead of a planned summit A television news screen in Seoul shows footage of the North Korean leader and the US President ahead of a planned summit  (AFP or licensors)

Pyongyang invites media to witness closure of nuclear test sites amid renewed tension

About two dozen journalists from Western and Chinese news organisations arrived in North Korea on Tuesday to witness the closure of its nuclear test site. Analysts say it could be an indication that the shutdown will go ahead notwithstanding renewed diplomatic uncertainty and tension between the isolated communist nation, South Korea and the United States.

A handful of journalists are in North Korea following an invitation by PyongYang to witness the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site this week.

The group however does not include technical experts despite Washington’s call for "a permanent and irreversible closure that can be inspected and fully accounted for".

North Korea's offer to scrap the test site has widely been seen as a key concession in months of easing tension between Pyongyang and its long-time bitter rivals, South Korea and the United States.

However, the improving diplomatic environment ran into stormy waters last week when the North Koreas leader, Kim Jong Un threatened to cancel a historic Summit with the American President, Donald Trump if he insists on it giving up nuclear weapons unilaterally.

Historic Summit

The summit is scheduled to take place in Singapore on June 12th.

Meanwhile South Korea's Moon Jae-in – who met Kim last month - is in Washington today for talks with Trump. He is expected to try and calm US nerves and to get the summit back on track" as U.S. officials try to figure out whether North Korea, which has pursued nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of U.N. sanctions, is serious about negotiating a deal on denuclearisation.

North Korea has rejected unilateral disarmament and given no indication that it is willing to go beyond statements of broad support for the concept of universal denuclearisation.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has prayed repeatedly for peace on the Korean peninusula and urged world leaders to promote a relationship of trust within the international community.

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22 May 2018, 15:52