05/21/2018, 15.30
KOREA – UNITED STATES
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Moon travels to Washington, as talks with Pyongyang are on hold

The summit between Kim and Trump is in doubt. North Korea has not yet spoken on the presence of South Korean journalists at the destruction of the nuclear site. Today’s meeting between Korean civic groups was blocked. Pyongyang wants the return of defectors who were “abducted” in China in 2016. North Korean official newspaper warns against the madness of depending on the outside for development and against "imperialists".

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – South Korean President Moon Jae-in left this morning for Washington amid suspended intra-Korean talks and ambiguous signals from Pyongyang.

Tomorrow, Moon will meet his US counterpart Donald Trump ahead of the US-North Korea summit with Kim Jong-un, scheduled for 12 June in Singapore, which now seems in doubt.

After threatening to pull out because of joint US-South Korean military exercises and the controversy over the Libyan model, North Korea has sent contradictory messages through its press and by staying silent on some major issues.

In particular, Pyongyang has not yet responded to Seoul's proposed list of journalists to attend the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear site.

On 12 May, North Korea announced that it would destroy the test site and that the ceremony would be open to South Korean, American, Chinese, Russian and British journalists.

"Today's communication channel closed ... The list of our journalists was not delivered (to the North)," a South Korean Unification Ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

At the same time, some experts say it is unlikely that the North will cancel the planned demolition.

According to 38 North, a US website that monitors developments in North Korea, some satellite images show steps being taken to dismantle the nuclear test site, including the installation of an observatory for overseeing the dismantling process

Furthermore, South Korean sources report that North Korea is testing the railway lines leading to the site.

On the other hand, a meeting between civic groups from the two Koreas was cancelled – they were supposed to organise a series of joint events between the two countries. In fact, the group from the South could not travel across the border due to the lack of invitation from North Korean authorities.

Recently, North Korea and the North Korean Red Cross also called on South Korea to return a group of restaurant workers who defected in China and fled en masse to the South in April 2016. According to Pyongyang, they were abducted by the South Korea’s former conservative administration.

Also, an article in Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s leading daily and the workers' party mouthpiece, warns against dependence on foreign countries for economic development.

“Now that the imperialists are getting more desperate in their moves to dominate other countries and nations and the world, if one tries to get benefit from outsiders while depending on them, instead of depending on his strength, it is as foolish an act as ruining oneself," it said.

Recently, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said that the US was willing to provide economic aid to North Korea in exchange for the total denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

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