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South Korea secures U.N. sanctions exemption for inter-Korean rail survey

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SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea said on Saturday it had received sanctions exemptions from the U.N. Security Council for a joint survey on inter-Korean rail.

It is the first step towards implementing an inter-Korean agreement on reconnecting railways and roads cut since the 1950-53 Korean War, as part of efforts to improve bilateral relationships.

The agreement were made during October talks aimed at following up on the third summit this year between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The two Koreas previously planned to carry out joint field studies on the transport plans from late October, with a goal to hold a ground-breaking ceremony in late November and early December.

But the plan was delayed amid stalled talks between Washington and Pyongyang following an unprecedented summit in June at which the two sides agreed to work towards nuclearisation and peace on the Korean peninsula.

Negotiations have since made little headway, with Pyongyang upset by Washington’s insistence that international sanctions must remain until it gives up its nuclear weapons.

The United States has told its ally South Korea it should not improve ties with North Korea faster than Pyongyang takes steps to give up its nuclear weapons.

Lee Do-hoon, South Korea’s nuclear negotiator, has said earlier this week Washington supports the inter-Korean rail survey, according to Yonhap News Agency.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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