Friday, 14 December, 2018

Trump says hopes to meet N. Korea’s Kim in January or February

South Korea to send trains to North Korea in joint survey to connect railways separated since Korean War North Korean soldier defects to South
Leonard Rios | 02 December, 2018, 15:07

A North Korean soldier fled across a heavily fortified border to defect to South Korea early Saturday, the military in Seoul said.

After whistling twice, a South Korean train engine pulling six rail cars slowly departed toward North Korea's Panmun Station, near the town of Kaesong, where the cars were to be reconnected to a North Korean engine.

South Korean authorities plan to question the defector over the details of his escape.

Through Dec. 5, the South Koreans will team up with North Korean officials and experts to look at 400 kilometers of tracks along the western coast from Kaesong, just north of the inter-Korean border, all the way up to Sinuiju, near the border separating North Korea and China.

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.

In November a year ago, a North Korean soldier drove to the heavily guarded border at speed and ran across under fire from his own comrades.

Trump and Kim met in June in a historic summit in Singapore aimed at curbing Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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"We're getting along very well".

"These are global sanctions put in place by the United Nations Security Council which deny North Korea the capacity to improve their economy", the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said Sunday.

South Korea will send trains across the border to the North for the first time in a decade, after recent sanction exemptions paved the way to begin work to connect railways separated since the Korean War.

Prospects for a second summit to overcome a current logjam in negotiations will likely depend on whether either the USA or DPRK can show flexibility with regards to offering gestures surrounding sanctions relief or steps towards denuclearization.

Sanctions enforced by the United Nations Security Council and the USA prohibit sending fuel or conducting economic activities that could generate cash for Kim's regime.

They have also begun work to reconnect a train line and fix another rail link across the border. The inspections are preparations for a project to connect the railways of the Koreas, as agreed between leaders of the South and North at their summits this year.

Appreciating Kim's upcoming visit to Seoul, Trump noted that the trip may create new momentum for efforts to denuclearize North Korea and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula, according to Yonhap News Agency.

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