Trump hopes to meet Kim early 2019

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A day earlier, a unification ministry official said South Korea will check with the USA on whether holding the groundbreaking ceremony involves any violations of sanctions on the North.

U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly said on Saturday on his way back here that his second meeting with the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un, is likely to happen in January or February next year.

The president tells reporters that there are three sites under consideration, but he's not identifying them.

"I think it will be absolutely imperative in this next summit that we come away with a plan for identifying all of the weapons in question, identifying all the development sites, allowing for inspections of the sites and the plan for dismantling nuclear weapons", Pence said in November.

Trump had been in Buenos Aires for the Group of 20 summit.

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea early on Saturday, the South Korean military said.

According to CNN, President Moon Jae-in has "long dreamed" of building a trans-Korean railroad because of the economic benefits that would result in being more easily connected to China and Russian Federation.

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South Korea will send trains across the border to the North for the first time in a decade, after recent sanction exemptions paved the way to begin work to connect railways separated since the Korean War.

Sarah Sanders added that Trump and Moon agreed that it is important to keep the sanctions in place.

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. He also said his administration is ready to lift the sanctions on North Korea, but asserted that Pyongyang has to be "responsive" to Washington.

Despite the warming ties, it remains unclear whether Kim will make his first-ever visit to the South this year, as Seoul is hoping.

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.

Pyongyang and Washington have repeatedly accused each other of failing to honour the vague agreements about denuclearisation they made at their landmark summit in Singapore in June.

Moon agreed to enhance bilateral efforts to denuclearize North Korea after meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Saturday.

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