Journos Told to Keep Blinds Closed on N. Korea Train Ride

Foreign journalists began trek to Mount Mantap on Wednesday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2018 8:32 AM CDT
South Korean journalists walk to board a plane to leave for North Korea at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, South Korea, Wednesday, May 23, 2018.   (Yonhap via AP)
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(Newser) – Kim Jong Un vowed to dismantle the nuclear testing facility beneath Mount Mantap this week, and he invited foreign journalists to witness the Punggye-ri facility's end. Reuters reports journalists from the UK, US, China, Russia, and South Korea on Wednesday began the trek to the site, and a trek it is: It will reportedly take an 11-hour train ride, a four-hour bus ride, and an hour-long hike to get there. As for the train ride, the AP reports the journalists were put up in sleeping cars outfitted with blinds on the windows and were told to keep the blinds shut for the duration of the trip.

The "formal closing ceremony" is expected to occur by Friday, depending on the weather, and the AP offers its take: that the North wanted a media presence in order to ensure that images of the explosive closing receive international press. But international monitors will be absent, which "limits its value as a serious concession." Reuters suggests the media won't be able to try to double as monitors: South Korean journalists allegedly had to leave their radiation detectors in their Wonsan hotel rooms before departing on the train. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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