South Korea sends survey train into North Korea

South Korea sends survey train into North Korea

South Korea sends survey train into North Korea

The president added that he plans at some point to invite Kim to the United States.

After whistling twice, a South Korean train engine pulling six rail cars slowly departed toward North Korea's Panmun Station, near the town of Kaesong, where the cars were to be reconnected to a North Korean engine.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday he thinks he will next meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in January or February and that three sites for the meeting are under consideration. "Of course, Kim's visit could take place a bit late ... but I think it doesn't matter whether it would happen before the end of this year or not".

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military detected the defector crossing the military demarcation line separating the border, according to Yonhap News.

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.

They will travel some 2,600 kilometres (1,600 miles) on railway tracks together, the transport ministry said. That original plan was botched by Washington's reluctance to lift sanctions on the North until last week, when it finally gave the green light.

FILE - In this November 15, 2018, file photo, smoke from an explosion rises as part of the dismantling of a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas in Cheorwon, as a North Korean guard post sits high in the upper left.

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. The rare defection came as the two Koreas push ahead with a process of reconciliation in an effort to ease tensions, despite talks between Pyongyang and Washington on the North's nuclear weapons programme stalling.

The two leaders said Kim's visit to the South Korean capital "would provide additional momentum to their joint efforts to establish peace on the Korean peninsula", Moon's press secretary Yoon Young-chan said.

In their most recent summit in Pyongyang in September, Kim and Moon committed to reviving economic co-operation when possible, voicing optimism that global sanctions could end to allow such activity.

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

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