South Korea finds it "disappointing and regrettable" that its eight journalists invited to attend this week's dismantling of North Korea's nuclear test site are not being allowed to attend after all, according to a statement from Seoul's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon Tuesday.
The group that arrived by charter flight from Beijing is made up of media from the U.K., Russia, China and the United States.
"The important issue in the South Korea-U.S. summit is not the meeting itself, but the exchange of ideas between the two leaders on how best to keep the dialogue with North Korea going forward", Moon's top security adviser Chung Eui-yong told reporters.
North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
North Korea threw a wrench in the plans last week, threatening to cancel over concerns about the US push to see the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The Punggye-ri site is where North Korea carried out all six of its nuclear weapon tests, including the most powerful one last September.
Korean and Japanese press interview South Korean reporters who were denied visas for the Punggye-ri nuclear site trip.
Other U.S. officials have privately expressed concern that Moon, eager to make progress with the North, may have overstated Kim's willingness to negotiate in good faith over the dismantling of his nuclear arsenal.
Skepticism about the North's intentions have mounted in recent weeks after Kim's government pulled out of planned peace talks with the South last week, objecting to long-scheduled joint military exercises between US and South Korean forces.
President Donald Trump labored with South Korea's Moon Jae-in Tuesday to keep the highly anticipated US summit with North Korea on track after Trump abruptly cast doubt that the June 12 meeting would come off. Setting the stakes sky high, Moon said, "The fate and the future of the Korean Peninsula hinge" on the meeting.More news: Ocado Teams Up With Kroger: What The Analysts Said
Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has departed for Washington to hold talks with his USA counterpart and meet with high-ranking administration officials responsible for foreign policy and security issues.
South Korean reporters were on standby in Beijing since Monday, but they could not board the plane arranged by Pyongyang.
One source onboard, however, told NK News that its true destination was Wonsan's Kalma International Airport, however, with the journalists set to then travel to the nuclear test ground at Punggye-ri by train. But, on the whole, polls do suggest a cautious optimism will remain among South Koreans.
Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed with Western powers in 2003 to dismantle his programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Moon "needs to succeed with Kim Jong Un and and Donald Trump", Bush said.
The US has demanded that North Korea denuclearize in more concrete ways, like by sending missiles and nuclear devices overseas for irreversible dismantlement, but that doesn't seem to have gone down well with Pyongyang. Some of Kim Jong Un's advisors may now be encouraging Kim to work harder at getting both: security assurances and an eventual normal relationship with the USA and acceptance as a nuclear weapons state, at least for an interim period, which could then eventually become de jure recognition as a nuclear weapons state.
Since then, there has been a landmark series of intra-Korean meetings, two trips to Pyongyang by Mike Pompeo - first as Central Intelligence Agency director then as America's top diplomat - and three American citizens have been released from the North.
Apart from the IAEA, the CTBTO can play a positive role in the verification of North Korea's nuclear program, but it is not clear whether these organizations would be allowed to participate in the process. The two countries are traditional allies, but their relationship was strained over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests and China's enforcement of United Nations sanctions that have choked the North's economy, especially fuel.
President Donald Trump should proceed with the June 12th summit with Kim Jung-Un.