South Korean train starts joint survey of North Korean railways

02 December, 2018, 15:04 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • South Korea to send trains to North Korea in joint survey to connect railways separated since Korean War

Meanwhile, Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

Talks on a follow-up to the two leaders' first meeting in June in Singapore have been underway since July, a senior US official told Reuters in October.

A North Korean soldier fled across the heavily fortified frontier Saturday, the military said, a rare escape that presents the first test of recent military tension-reduction measures by the two adversaries.

But the project was given a green light recently as the United States expressed strong support for the survey and the U.N. Security Council granted a sanctions exemption.

The Trump-Kim summit in June of this year was created to help ease the tensions between the two nations - though critics have questioned whether North Korea has complied with agreements reached at the historic meeting.

They also had to get special one-off clearance from the United Nations to get around sanctions, which prohibit taking fuel and certain equipment into North Korea.

The President's comments came hours after Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a working meeting in Argentina, discussing several issues that included a temporary freeze on higher tariffs, fentanyl reclassification as a controlled substance, and the North Korea peninsula.

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But differences have emerged between Washington and Seoul on how to proceed with Kim, as the dovish Moon has long favored engagement with the North.

"As he promised, President Moon should invite Kim to Seoul and convince him" of making headway in the stalled denuclearization talks, former Unification Minster Jeong Se-hyun said during a meeting with liberal politicians on Saturday. "Of course, Kim's visit could take place a bit late ... but I think it doesn't matter whether it would happen before the end of this year or not".

Moon agreed to enhance bilateral efforts to denuclearize North Korea after meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Saturday.

In his talks with Trump at the G-20 in Argentina, Moon earned some support for the Seoul summit from the U.S. leader - perhaps in a bid to entice Kim to make good on his pledge.

After Trump and Kim agreed to work towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in the first summit, progress has been largely symbolic owing to the absence of a clear route map for disarmament.

North Korea entered into agreements with regional powers in 1994 and in 2005 to dismantle its nuclear programme in return for economic benefits and diplomatic rewards, but those deals broke down after Pyongyang clandestinely continued to pursue building weapons of mass destruction.

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