North Korean soldier defects to South

South Korea to send trains to North Korea in joint survey to connect railways separated since Korean War

South Korea to send trains to North Korea in joint survey to connect railways separated since Korean War

US President Donald Trump has said that he hopes to have a second meeting with North Korean leader in January or February 2019 and that they were considering three places for the summit.

A North Korean soldier fled across the heavily fortified frontier Saturday, the military said, a rare escape that presents the first test of recent military tension-reduction measures by the two adversaries. Moon and Kim specifically agreed to hold a tape-cutting ceremony by the end of this year to mark the beginning of an inter-Korean project connecting roads and railways between the two countries.

USA officials are seeking a "substantive next step" toward denuclearization, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN on Saturday, adding that Washington has been seeing good progress in discussions with Pyongyang.

The US has given its support to the rail survey, but Mr Moon will have to have a number of hard conversations if he's to persuade President Donald Trump that easing sanctions at this stage would be worthwhile so the project can go ahead, our correspondent says.

A train carrying South Korean engineers and officials crossed into the North on Friday to begin a landmark joint survey to reconnect railway tracks between the two Koreas.

"Related agencies plan to investigate him regarding the details of how he came to the South", the Joint Chiefs said in a message.

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The military said it will question the soldier about how he escaped across the border, a 2.5-mile wide, 155-mile long buffer zone that's lined with barbed wire and filled with land mines.

"Given South Africa's experience of voluntarily abandoning its nuclear program for the sake of regional security, its denuclearization process can be a good model for North Korea", Moon was quoted as saying by spokesperson Yoon.

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. However, a North Korean soldier has now achieved this feat.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was due to meet with a top North Korean official in early November, but the meeting was abruptly put off, with North Korea insisting that Washington ease sanctions.

What's going on: According to BBC News, the train will carry a team of South Korean specialists through the Demilitarized Zone and into North Korea to assess the state of the rail system.

The prospect of Kim's visit to Seoul had been in doubt amid the stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington, with the two sides in a deadlock over who should make the first move since Kim and Trump held their first summit in June.

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