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US pledges commitment to South Korea’s defence

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Washington: The Pentagon said on Saturday that its military leader pledged “unwavering commitment” of the US to South Korea’s defence. According to a Pentagon statement, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, called his South Korean counterpart Adm. Choi Yoon-Hee late on Friday night and reiterated the strength of the US-South Korea alliance, Xinhua reporetd.

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www.telegraph.co.uk

The two military chiefs concurred they would watch North Korea’s actions closely in the coming days and would ensure that the US and South Korea continue to work closely with each other to deter the North’s “provocations and defuse tensions”.  North and South Korea started high-level urgent contacts earlier Saturday in the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss the prevailing tense situation on the peninsula.

The meeting is the highest level inter-Korean contact since President Park took office in February 2013. It came amid escalated tensions caused by cross-border exchange of fire on Thursday over South Korea’s propaganda broadcasts. North Korea warned that unless South Korea stops propaganda broadcasts in front line areas before 5 p.m., it will take military action. South Korea threatened stern retaliation against any further provocations.

(IANS)

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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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Korea, Railways
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

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)