The historic diplomatic encounter planned for three weeks from now between President Donald Trump and North Korean despot Kim Jong Un appeared in doubt on Tuesday as Trump questioned whether preparations could be completed in time.
Mr Trump raised the possibility that the meeting could be pushed back during a White House meeting with South Korea president Moon Jae-in, trying to co-ordinate strategy as concerns mounted over ensuring a successful outcome for the North Korea summit.
"We'll see what happens", Trump said.
Punggye-ri has been the site for all six of the North's nuclear tests, the latest and by far the most powerful in September past year, which Pyongyang said was a Hydrogen bomb.
"We're moving along. And we'll see what happens", Trump added.
The US secretary of state told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that he was "hopeful" that the meeting would go ahead.
The United States and South Korea are laboring to keep the highly anticipated USA summit with North Korea on track, even after President Donald Trump abruptly said "there's a very substantial chance" it won't happen as scheduled.
Pompeo insisted that the Trump administration was "clear-eyed" about what it faces with North Korea, which has a history of making promises in worldwide negotiations and then backtracking.
Mr. Trump said during his meetings with Moon the summit may not happen as scheduled.
But North Korea accepted the list of the South Korean journalists to attend via a cross-border communication channel.
Go Myong-hyun, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said both sides were playing "a game of chicken" in the run up to the summit "to gain an upper hand in negotiations".
North Korea cancelled high-level talks with South Korea, saying the South's joint military exercises with the USA - which it had previously said it would tolerate - were a "provocation".
The minor Bareunmirae Party called for cool-headed attitudes in handling North Korea's denuclearization.
They reported that they were leaving their hotel in the coastal city of Wonsan at about 5.30pm local time.
A selection of journalists representing Chinese, Russian, South Korean, U.K. and US media organizations were traveling to the site in mountainous area of Punggye-ri to witness the event.
But returning defectors to a country where they could face imprisonment or worse would be a serious human-rights violation, said Yoon Pyung-joong, a professor of political philosophy at Hanshin University in South Korea.
The ministry said it planned to arrange a rare direct flight on Wednesday between the two countries, who remain technically at war, to ferry the journalists to Wonsan.
"When Bolton gave an interview and talked about following a Libya model, Pyongyang said, 'I don't think so, that ain't happening". One of them said she didn't know that she was going to South Korea and thought she was simply being moved to a different housing facility.
With it Kim could show his people that he, unlike his father and grandfather-under whose shadows he still lives-had forced the United States to properly recognize North Korea, with the help of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
"We are prepared", he said.