Four South Korean reporters departed for China en route to North Korea on Monday to cover the planned demolition of its nuclear test site.
The North earlier announced that it would demolish the Punggye-ri facilities in its northeastern mountainous region, where it carried out six nuclear tests, with explosives to demonstrate its willingness for denuclearization. The move comes less than a month ahead of the North's summit talks with the United States to be held in Singapore.
The North has invited journalists from South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Britain to the ceremony set for sometime between Wednesday and Friday.
For South Korea, it said four reporters from a newswire and four others from a broadcaster will be allowed to witness the event.
The South's government tried to deliver the list of the reporters, selected for pool coverage, but the North has not accepted it amid its shift back to a recalcitrant tone. The North is upset about the ongoing combined air combat drill between South Korea and the US.
It remains unclear whether the North will hold the Punggye-ri ceremony as scheduled or allow South Korean media to cover it.
The four South Korean reporters will apply for a North Korea visa at its Beijing Embassy and wait for a flight to the North. The other four plan to leave for Beijing later Monday.
The North promised earlier that foreign journalists will be offered a charter flight from Beijing to Wonsan, an eastern port city, and a special train to the nuclear test site. (Yonhap)