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People bow as they pay their respects before the statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at Mansu Hill in Pyongyang on April 15, 2018. Eight South Korean journalists were denied entry visas into North Korea to cover the dismantling of a nuclear test site in North Korea, according to news reports. (AFP/Ed Jones)

Eight South Korean journalists denied entry into North Korea

May 22, 2018 3:20 PM ET

New York, May 22, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on North Korea to allow journalists access to cover the dismantling of a nuclear test site in the country.

While a group of foreign journalists today arrived in North Korea to cover the dismantling, eight South Korean journalists were denied visas into North Korea at the last minute after tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul escalated over a South Korean military exercise with the United States, according to news reports. According to Reuters, numerous other news organizations--including the agency--were denied invitations to cover the shutdown.

The dismantling ceremony is expected to take place in the next few days, according to The AP.

"North Korea should reverse its decision and allow South Korean journalists to cover the nuclear site dismantlement this week," said Steven Butler, CPJ's Asia program coordinator from Washington D.C. "The denial of visas sets a poor precedent ahead of the expected diplomatic summit."

Reuters reported that journalists from AP, CNN, CBS, Russia Today, and Chinese state media outlets were among those seen checking into the flight from Beijing to North Korea.

The nuclear site dismantlement comes after a historic summit last month between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone, located on the two countries' border, and ahead of a planned diplomatic summit between the United States, North Korea, and South Korea on June 12 in Singapore, according to the reports cited above.

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