Sky News reports live from North Korea ahead of nuclear site demolition

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Sky News has broadcast live from North Korea ahead of the demolition of a nuclear test site.

Asia correspondent Tom Cheshire is one of a small group of foreign journalists who has arrived in the secretive state to witness the dismantling of the Punggye-Ri nuclear test site prior to talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Sky News is the only British broadcaster set to visit the site.

Reporting live from Wonsan, a port city on North Korea’s east coast, Cheshire said the group of journalists are getting a train into the mountains later today which will take about 12 hours.

That will be followed by four-hour bus journey and two-hour hike to Punggye-Ri.

He added that the fact North Korea has allowed journalists, not weapons inspectors, to witness the dismantling of the site is significant because of the global publicity.

The Sky News crew had its satellite phone confiscated by North Korean officials as they landed at the “shiny new airport” in Wonsan, which is “more like a resort”.

Each news crew has a North Korea minder, with the Sky News one studying international relations at university in the North.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Sky News reports live from North Korea ahead of nuclear site demolition Sky News reports live from North Korea ahead of nuclear site demolition skynews kim jong un mike pompeo 4305532
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pyongyang invited the journalists to Wonsan to publicise its promise to halt underground tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Cheshire added: “It’s crucial that it’s journalists going in instead of weapons inspectors.

“But that symbolism is important – especially before that meeting coming up between Moon and Trump later today.

“The North Koreans are saying ‘no more talking, let’s see some action’ – and that’s why we’re here.

“Those talks in Washington are crucial.

“The dismantling is supposed to happen between tomorrow and Friday. We’ll try and bring you as much as possible – they are keeping very tight controls but we’ll show you everything we’re able to.

“When you arrive at the airport, everyone is wearing uniforms and looking much like mannequins. You can smell the fresh paint on the walls of our hotel. We have a constant minder.

Tom Cheshire reporting live from Wonsan in North Korea Sky News reports live from North Korea ahead of nuclear site demolition Sky News reports live from North Korea ahead of nuclear site demolition skynews tom cheshire wonsan 4317064
Image:
Tom Cheshire reporting live from Wonsan in North Korea

“We’re going to be so far up in the mountains, getting those pictures back will be the most challenging thing.

“We stepped out from this airport and it’s eerily quiet…

“They want to develop it for tourism.

“This is a regime that sets great store by symbolism, images, propaganda – everyone here is wearing a badge of the Kim family.

“It’s extraordinary to get to an active North Korean nuclear test site.

“The war head that was detected by seismologists back in September shows how much they have developed in recent years.

“It’s quite hard to keep a nuclear test secret.”

North Korea announced the nuclear site moratorium ahead of a summit between leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump which is scheduled for 12 June in Singapore.

Eight South Korean journalists who were meant to be going to the site were rejected by Pyongyang and it refused to respond to Seoul on Monday as the North has cut off high-level contact with the South to protest a military exercise with the US which is due to finish on Friday.

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