Japan has been plagued by exclusion anxiety amid the rapid developments on the Korean peninsula, and was blindsided by US President Donald Trump's agreement to meet Mr Kim for an unprecedented bilateral summit.
PREMIUM The inter-Korean summit in April was nothing short of significant. This was reported by AFP referring to the South Korean newspaper "Choson Ilbo".
The spokesman cautioned the Trump administration "not to interpret Pyongyang's willingness to talk as a sign of weakness", AP reports, adding that the North Korean official also blasted the us for its ongoing "pressure and military threats", urging the United States to ease its position.
But the North has not even specified how it would invite outside inspectors to watch its demolition of Punggye-ri.
Should the North Korean official on the plane be confirmed to be the North's leader, it would be his second known visit to China following the surprise trip there for his first summit with Xi in late March.
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For more than a decade, North Korea had been hit with various economic sanctions that were mandated by the United Nations.
"It appears that an apparently top-ranking North Korean official has visited Dalian", a source said, declining to be named.
"Watching the place get torn down is simply applauding North Korea's destruction of evidence", said the analyst.
It also wants a resolution to the longstanding issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s. A local nuclear scientist said the inspection of Punggye-ri might offer clues to just how much plutonium the regime has produced so far.