Journalists from China, Russia, South Korea, Great Britain and the United States were reportedly on hand to confirm that North Korea had indeed destroyed a nuclear testing site located in a remote region 300 miles inland on Thursday, May 24.
As was the case in 2008 when former leader Kim Jong-il invited members of the foreign press to observe the decimation of a plant in Yongbyon as part of a denuclearization deal, the reporters were transported to the spot in secretive fashion. This time, their travels consisted of a 12-hour ride via train, a four-hour bus ride, and an hour-long hike through the mountains of Punggye-ri, where a series of tunnels accessed by four different portals, were reportedly collapsed in the blast.
“There was a huge explosion; you could feel it,” broadcaster Tom Cheshire of Sky News is quoted as saying while describing one of the detonations he reportedly witnessed from 500 yards away. “Dust came at you, the heat came at you. It was extremely loud. It blew an observation tower to complete smithereens.”
Kim Jong Un ordered the site’s destruction as a signal to the U.S. that his regime was prepared to further embark towards diplomacy on the heels of making amends with their Southern neighbors some weeks ago. However, it was only a matter of hours before President Trump called off a summit planned between the two nations on June 12, prompting the Supreme Leader to warn that its adversaries must decide whether to “meet us in a meeting room or encounter us at a nuclear-to-nuclear showdown,” according to reports.