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

Reconnecting the railroads was one of the key projects promised during a meeting between North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang in September.

North Korean and South Korean soldiers are pictured during an operation to reconnect a road across the Military Demarcation Line inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas (Novemeber 22, 2018).

"As he promised, President Moon should invite Kim to Seoul and convince him" of making headway in the stalled denuclearization talks, former Unification Minster Jeong Se-hyun said during a meeting with liberal politicians on Saturday.

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea on Saturday across their heavily fortified land border.

"The sanctions exemption has big implications given that the project has garnered recognition and support from the United States and the global society", South Korea's presidential spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said at the time. They also announced measures to reduce conventional military threats, such as creating buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border and also removing a number of guard posts and demining sections in border areas.

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 six-carriage train is transporting 28 South Koreans including railway engineers and other personnel, and carrying 55 tonnes of fuel and an electricity generator.

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More than 30,000 North Koreans have fled to the South since the 1950-53 war on the peninsula ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

The US President met with the North Korean leader for the first time in Singapore this year, where the two leaders had signed a joint declaration to work towards achieving "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean Peninsula in exchange of Pyongyang's "security guarantees" from Washington.

On board is a team of South Korean experts investigating ways to help North Korea modernise its rail network.

Pence has also said it was essential that global sanctions pressure be maintained on North Korea until its complete denuclearisation was achieved.

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.

The last defection involving North Koreans occurred in May when two civilians aboard a small boat defected to the South across the Yellow Sea.

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