North Korean soldier defects to South

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

The two leaders agreed to break ground within the year.

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea across the eastern land border on Saturday, the South's military said. A train will leave Seoul Station in the early morning and arrive in the North Korean city of Sinuiju, near the Chinese border, before heading to Pyongyang.

The North Korean leader said he would visit Seoul "in the near future", during his third summit with Moon in September.

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

But beyond surveys and tape-cuttings, the Koreas can not move much further along without the removal of USA -led sanctions against the North, which isn't likely before it takes firmer steps toward relinquishing its nuclear weapons and missiles. South Korea said last week it had won exemptions for the joint survey.

South Korea says the military agreement, which also included creating buffer zones along the Koreas' land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border, is an important trust-building step that would help stabilize peace and advance reconciliation between the rivals.

At Kaesong, South Korea's locomotive was swapped with North Korea's, and three North Korean cars which Seoul's Unification Ministry did not immediately specify were attached to the six South Korean cars.

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

The six-carriage train is transporting 28 South Koreans including railway engineers and other personnel, and carrying 55 tonnes of fuel and an electricity generator. It was essential that global sanctions pressure be maintained on North Korea until its complete denuclearisation was achieved, he said.

In 2012, a North Korean soldier walked unchecked through rows of electrified fencing and surveillance cameras, prompting Seoul to sack three field commanders for the security lapse.

The current railway project has also faced delays over concerns it could violate United Nations sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear and missile programmes.

"It was also agreed that great progress has been made with respect to North Korea and that President Trump, together with President Xi, will strive, along with Chairman Kim Jong Un, to see a nuclear free Korean Peninsula", the White House said in a statement following the highly anticipated dinner in Argentina.

South Korean officials planned to debrief him to try to determine his motive for defecting, the military said.



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