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Will meet with Kim Jong Un in early 2019

02 December, 2018, 15:05 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • South Korea to send trains to North Korea in joint survey to connect railways separated since Korean War

They agreed on the need for "maintaining vigorous enforcement of existing sanctions to ensure the DPRK understands that denuclearisation is the only path", Sanders said, using the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The UN Security Council granted the South sanctions exemptions to carry fuel and other equipment into the North for the survey.

Last month, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo's planned meeting with a senior North Korean official was canceled at the last minute.

Meanwhile, Minister of Unification Cho Myoung-gyon said the government will aim for a groundbreaking ceremony to connect the railways of the Koreas to take place within this year, as earlier agreed at the third inter-Korean summit in September. Despite the warming ties, it remains unclear whether the North's leader Kim Jong Un will make his first-ever visit to the South this year, as Seoul is hoping.

Yet progress in further steps toward complete denuclearization of North Korea has been a struggle.

"The inter-Korean railway connection project is meant to overcome division and open a new future of the Korean Peninsula", Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said at a ceremony at Dorasan Station near the border, according to pool reports. This reports the South Korean news agency "Yonhap", citing the army leadership in Seoul. From Seoul Station to Dorasan Station, they took the same train that went into the North.

The last defection involving North Koreans occurred in May when two civilians aboard a small boat fled to the South across the Yellow Sea. A freight train that ran from Dorasan Station in the South to Panmun Station in the North was stopped on November 28, 2008, after inter-Korean relations became strained.

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The history of the inter-Korean railways: Before the Korean War, two rail systems connected the northern and southern parts of the Korean Peninsula, per AFP.

The train will include passenger and sleeping cars as well as a power-generator auto and a fuel tank.

Twenty-eight South Korean officials including people from the unification, and land, infrastructure and transport ministries will inspect the 400-kilometer section from Gaeseong to Sinuiju through December 5.

The train will be used to inspect 1,200 kilometers of rail track in the North through December 18. The South Korean locomotive returned home on Friday.

More than 30,000 North Korean civilians have fled their homeland but most flee across the porous frontier with China, and rarely across the inter-Korean border which is fortified with minefields and barbed wire.

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