Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

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And the two countries will hold Red Cross talks at North Korea's Diamond Mountain resort in November to set up video-conference meetings between aging relatives separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and potentially expand face-to-face reunions between them.

"We expect all member states to fully implement U.N. sanctions, including sectoral goods banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions, and expect all nations to take their responsibilities seriously to help end (North Korea's) illegal nuclear and missile programs", she added.

The Koreas are holding high-level talks to discuss engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with the North.

There could also be discussions over the specifics of a joint military committee agreed between their leaders to evaluate tension-reduction steps and maintain communication to prevent crises and accidental clashes.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon has expressed regret over a decision to block a North Korean defector-turned reporter from covering high-level talks between the Koreas at a border village.

The agreement on transport links came during talks in the border village of Panmunjom aimed at following up on the third summit this year between South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, last month.

The North and South also announced measures to reduce conventional military threats, such as creating buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border, removing 11 front-line guard posts by December, and demining sections of the Demilitarized Zone.

However, South Korea's enthusiasm for engagement with its rival appears to have created discomfort with ally United States amid growing concerns that the North is lagging behind its supposed promise to denuclearize.

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South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed displeasure about the Koreas' military agreements.

Moon's government last week walked back a proposal to lift some of its unilateral sanctions against North Korea following Trump's blunt retort that Seoul could "do nothing" without Washington's approval.

There also was criticism in South Korea on Monday of efforts by Moon's government to keep North Korea happy.

Macron too ruled out any sanctions relief or making further concessions to North Korea amid continued fears that Kim might not be prepared to commit to an "irreversible and verifiable" deal to abandon his nuclear ambitions.

"The South and North reached the agreement after sincerely discussing action plans to develop inter-Korean relations to a new, higher stage", said a joint statement released by the South's Unification Ministry.

"We are at a very critical moment for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the advancement of inter-Korean relations, and there's also a second North Korea-U.S. summit coming up", Cho told reporters before leaving for Panmunjom.

The meeting between senior officials comes at a sensitive time as Washington has expressed unease over the fast pace in inter-Korean engagement, which it says should move in tandem with USA -led efforts to denuclearize the North.

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