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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

All News 16:00 December 07, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

N. Korea soldier defects to S. Korea: JCS

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea across the eastern land border on Saturday, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

With its surveillance equipment, the South Korean military detected the soldier crossing the military demarcation line at 7:56 a.m., the JCS said.

"Related agencies plan to investigate him regarding the details of how he came to the South," the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters, adding that there were no "special activities" from the North Korean army on the front line.

S. Korean FM meets North's titular leader in Mexico

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has met with the North's ceremonial head of state in Mexico and expressed her hope for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's prompt visit to Seoul, the foreign ministry here said Sunday.

Kang's meeting with Kim Yong-nam took place Saturday while visiting the Latin American country to attend the presidential inauguration ceremony of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.

In talks with Kim, Kang expressed her hope that the North Korean leader would promptly make a visit to Seoul to strengthen the drive to bring lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula. The North's leader agreed earlier to visit the South Korean capital before the year's end to reciprocate President Moon Jae-in's trip to Pyongyang in September.

N. Korea's sports minister: 2032 joint Olympics would help unite the two Koreas

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's sports minister said working together with South Korea to co-host the 2032 Olympics will contribute to making the divided peninsula one, a Tokyo-based pro-North Korean newspaper reported Sunday.

In an interview with Chosun Sinbo, Kim Il-guk, who also serves as the president of the North's Olympic Committee, said, "So many logistical issues arise in the process of bidding to host Olympic Games. Solving problems one by one will serve as an opportunity for the North and the South to understand, reconcile and unite with each other."

On the prospect of forming a unified team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he said, "The two Koreas will demonstrate to the world the people's willingness to achieve peace and unification in the Tokyo Olympics."

Koreas in consultation to fix schedule for road inspection across border

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea are in consultation to determine when and how they will conduct a joint inspection of roads of the two Koreas to modernize and reconnect them across their border, the unification ministry said Wednesday.

In August, the two Koreas conducted an eight-day joint field inspection of a road in the western region running from Kaesong, a town in North Korea near the border, to Pyongyang.

But their planned inspection of a road along the North's eastern region between Goseong in the South and Wonsan in the North has not yet been conducted. They earlier agreed to continue to discuss the details of the issue.

N.K. leader's Seoul visit linked to N.K.-U.S. talks: S. Korea spy agency

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is expected to decide if its leader, Kim Jong-un, will visit Seoul in tandem with progress of its denuclearization talks with the United States, South Korea's spy agency was quoted as saying Wednesday.

South Korea hopes that Kim will make his first trip to Seoul by the end of this year, saying that the visit will help accelerate Pyongyang's denuclearization. But prospects for his trip are uncertain amid North Korea's stalled talks with the U.S.

In the Pyongyang summit agreement in September, Kim agreed to visit Seoul "at an early date," which President Moon Jae-in says means within this year.

Koreas to deliver letter of intent to co-host Olympics to IOC in Feb. 2019

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea are expected to submit a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in February 2019 stating their intent to co-host the 2032 Olympic Games, Seoul's sports ministry said Wednesday.

An official from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said representatives from the two Koreas are expected to visit the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, in mid-February, and they may deliver their intention letter at that time.

"We tried to deliver the letter of intent to the IOC in early January, but North Korea has yet to confirm its schedule," the official said. "IOC President Thomas Bach then asked whether the two Koreas could visit the IOC headquarters on Feb. 15."

S. Koreans return home after inspection of N. Korea's western railway

SEOUL/DORASAN, Dec. 5 (Yonhap-Joint Press Corps) -- A group of South Korean officials and railway experts returned home Wednesday after completing a joint inspection of the rail system in western North Korea.

The 28 South Koreans crossed into Dorasan Station, just south of the inter-Korean border, at around 5:11 p.m. following a six-day inspection that covered the rail line from Kaesong near the border with the South to Sinuiju near the border with China.

A train carrying six South Korean cars left for the North on Friday. It was taken over by a North Korean locomotive at Panmun Station, from which point five North Korean cars were connected to it for the joint work.

Koreas agree to verify withdrawal of border guard posts on Dec. 12

SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- The two Koreas have agreed to verify their recent work to withdraw 11 border guard posts through onsite visits next week, Seoul's defense ministry said Thursday.

They will each form a seven-member verification team for each guard post, subject to their pullout agreement, for the verification task on Wednesday.

As part of the September military accord aimed at reducing tensions and building trust, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to demolish 11 guard posts each in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) but decided later to disarm and keep one of them each for its historical value.

S. Koreans to visit Pyongyang next week for talks on forestry cooperation

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will send 10 officials and experts to Pyongyang next week for talks on forestry cooperation, the unification ministry said Friday.

The team will fly to the North via Beijing on Tuesday for a three-day visit, according to the ministry. Lim Sang-seop, a senior official with the Korea Forestry Service, will lead the delegation, the ministry said.

The planned trip is part of efforts to implement an agreement reached in October to jointly combat pine tree pests and other forestry diseases until March next year, the ministry said.

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