Tuesday December 11, 2018
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Korea To Survey Railways That Were Cut During The Korean War

The projects are among many agreements reached between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

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A South Korean train transporting South Korean officials runs on rails that lead to North Korea inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea. VOA
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A South Korean train entered to North Korea on Friday as the two countries began inspecting northern railways tracks they hope to relink with the south.

About 30 officials from each side will participate in an 18-day joint survey of railways tracks cut since the Korean War.

“We will maintain close consultation with related nations so that the project to connect the South and North’s railways could proceed with international support,” South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said during a ceremony at Dorasan Station near the border.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae. VOA

The Koreas, however, cannot proceed much further with the project without the removal of U.S.-led sanctions against the North.The U.S. has said the sanctions will remain until North Korea takes convincing measures toward full denuclearization.

The UN Security Council granted exemptions to sanctions last week, allowing the implementation of the cross-border infrastructure project.

Also on Friday, the North and South militaries completed removing 20 front-line guard posts and land mines from a border area where they plan to start their first-ever joint search for remains of soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, according to an official from Seoul’s Defense Ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Also Read: North Korea Open To Nuclear Site Inspection: Report

The projects are among many agreements reached between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their three meetings this year, as part of a diplomatic initiative that eased tensions over the North’s nuclear program. (VOA)

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North Korea Open To Nuclear Site Inspection: Report

The United States has stressed the importance of verification as it negotiates with the North about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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North Korea, nuclear
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a construction site in Yangdeok, in this undated photo released on Oct. 31, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.. VOA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is willing to allow inspectors into the reclusive country’s main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a senior diplomatic source.

“I understand that Chairman Kim told (South Korean) President Moon (Jae-in) during their summit in September that if the U.S. took corresponding steps he would not only be willing to shut down the Yongbyon nuclear facilities but also allow verification,” Yonhap quoted the source as saying.

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President Donald Trump shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-In at the Lotte New York Palace hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2018, in New York. VOA

​The source said Moon passed the message on to U.S. President Donald Trump when the two met during the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

Kim had earlier expressed openness to shutting down the site if Washington took “corresponding” measures, but no offer to allow inspectors in to verify had been reported.

Asked about reports on Tuesday on North Korean willingness to allow inspectors in and whether there had been new developments, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said she was “not aware of any of that,” but Kim had agreed to inspections in a meeting with Pompeo recently.

nuclear
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a long- and medium-range ballistic rocket launch drill in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, Aug. 30, 2017. VOA

“That’s something the secretary and Chairman Kim had agreed to and spoken about when the secretary was in Pyongyang about a month ago or so,” Nauert told reporters. “So that’s something they agreed to and we look forward to Chairman Kim fulfilling his commitments.”

Also Read: The Secret of The North Korean Hacker Army

It was not clear from her remarks whether Kim had specifically said inspectors could visit the Yongbyon facilities.

The United States has stressed the importance of verification as it negotiates with the North about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. (VOA)