North, South Korea agree to begin reconnecting roads, railways

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North and South Korea on Monday announced that they have agreed to a plan to connect the two nations via railways and roads.

The agreements and others came as part of a broader push for peace between the two countries, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. and South Korea have both been pushing for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear capabilities, engaging in a series of summits involving officials from the three countries.

{mosads}President Moon Jae-in of South Korea last Friday said that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has told him that he plans to completely denuclearize.

“By complete denuclearization, he meant to start by stopping additional nuclear and missile tests, and then abolish the facilities that produce the nukes and develop the missiles, and all the existing nuclear weapons and materials,” Moon said in an interview with BBC.

On Monday, the two nations agreed to a groundbreaking ceremony for the planned railway project in November or early December, according to the AP. The Koreas also plan to hold joint inspections in October of a portion of a railway that once connected the two nations.

President Trump held a summit with Kim in June with the aim of negotiating Pyongyang’s denuclearization.

The country has not tested any missiles or nuclear weapons since the summit and removed military displays from an important parade at which missiles usually feature, but has taken no verifiable steps to begin denuclearization.

North Korea also returned three U.S. hostages as well as what the White House says are the remains of U.S. soldiers from the Korean War.

However, many officials remain skeptical that North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons, as it has ducked agreements with the U.S. in the past. 

Moon has indicated that that might change, saying after his latest of three summits with Kim that the North may allow international experts to observe the dismantling of a key missile site as well as close its main nuclear complex if the U.S. takes reciprocal actions, including formally ending the Korean War and placing a U.S. diplomatic office in North Korea.

The Trump administration had said that they would provide sanctions relief for the rogue nation in exchange for complete denuclearization.

Trump is in the process of planning a second summit between him and Kim. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim earlier this month in a summit that Pompeo said was productive toward the North’s denuclearization.

Tags denuclearization Donald Trump Mike Pompeo North Korea South Korea

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