President Donald Trump met South Korean President Moon Jae-in yesterday as U.S. officials try to assess North Korea's intentions after Pyongyang threatened to pull out of a planned June 12 summit to discuss denuclearisation.
Pyongyang unveiled its plan to mothball the site at a party meeting in April, with Kim saying the facility would be closed because the nation had completed its development of its nuclear arsenal. For Washington, this will involve considerable sanctions relief, dropping regime change as a long-term USA objective, and normalizing relations with the North once the entirety of its nuclear weapons - including all of the centrifuges, research documents, testing sites, and plutonium facilities - are packed up and destroyed to America's satisfaction.The outline of a prospective agreement with the North is not a mystery.
A senior South Korean official told reporters on condition of anonymity: "Given the North's thinking and statements alike, we would be able to turn around the mood after the Max Thunder drills from the current standoff and restart dialogue".
"We're moving along. And we'll see what happens", Trump added.
Despite easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea has taken issue with Seoul's military exercises with Washington.
"Both in terms of building the trust and confidence between the United States and North Korea (DPRK) to be successful, but also in terms of working through the mechanics of denuclearization", Stangarone said.
North Korea's last-minute acceptance of South Korean reporters came amid concerns that Kim was starting to back away from his promise to scrap the nuclear programme, which it has pursued in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Go Myong-hyun, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said both sides were playing "a game of chicken" in the run up to the summit "to gain an upper hand in negotiations".
The minor Bareunmirae Party called for cool-headed attitudes in handling North Korea's denuclearization.
When North Korea announced it would dismantle the Punggy-ri site, it said it would invite media from five countries including South Korea to watch, but it didn't respond to South Korea's notifications of which journalists would attend until Wednesday morning.
Reporters from China, the U.S. and Russian Federation departed on a charter flight from Beijing on Tuesday for the North Korean city of Wonsan.
But returning defectors to a country where they could face imprisonment or worse would be a serious human-rights violation, said Yoon Pyung-joong, a professor of political philosophy at Hanshin University in South Korea.
But on Tuesday a Unification Ministry spokesman suggested the South could lay on a rare direct flight. "And I think they were dedicating an aircraft carrier that the United States paid for", Trump said.
Trump encouraged Kim to focus on the opportunities offered by the meeting and to make a deal to abandon his nuclear program, pledging not only to guarantee Kim's personal security but also predicting an economic revitalization for the North. "But we're just preparing for many different possibilities".