North Korean soldier defects to South - South's military

Larry Hoffman
December 2, 2018

South Korean soldiers guided the North Korean to safety after they found him walking across the eastern sector of the Demilitarized Zone, the buffer zone separating the Koreas, the South Korean military said in a brief statement.

Pompeo, who is leading the team of US negotiators, traveled to Pyongyang in October, where he and the North Korean leader agreed to a second US-North Korea summit.

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.

"The soldier is safely in our custody", it said.

Defections into South Korea have incensed North Korea, which typically rekindles tensions between the two countries and the UN Command.

The president also discussed North Korea with his South Korean and Chinese counterparts on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

South Korea said last week it had won exemptions for the joint survey.

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.

It comes as the North and South Korea have pushed to implement a wide-ranging military agreement reached in September to reduce tensions across their border. Most flee across the porous frontier with neighbouring China and it is very rare for them to cross the closely guarded inter-Korean border, which is fortified with minefields and barbed wire. Despite the warming ties, it remains unclear whether the North's leader Kim Jong Un will make his first-ever visit to the South this year, as Seoul is hoping.

They have also begun work to reconnect a train line and fix another rail link across the border. "Nothing has been decided", Blue House spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

The primary goal of discussions between the US and North Korea remains the creation of "a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula", said a White House statement issued Saturday following Trump's meeting in Argentina with Chinese Present Xi Jinping.

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.

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