A South Korean train entered to North Korea on Friday as the two countries began inspecting northern railways tracks they hope to relink with the south.
About 30 officials from each side will participate in an 18-day joint survey of railways tracks cut since the Korean War.
“We will maintain close consultation with related nations so that the project to connect the South and North's railways could proceed with international support,'' South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said during a ceremony at Dorasan Station near the border.
The Koreas, however, cannot proceed much further with the project without the removal of U.S.-led sanctions against the North.The U.S. has said the sanctions will remain until North Korea takes convincing measures toward full denuclearization.
The UN Security Council granted exemptions to sanctions last week, allowing the implementation of the cross-border infrastructure project.
Also on Friday, the North and South militaries completed removing 20 front-line guard posts and land mines from a border area where they plan to start their first-ever joint search for remains of soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, according to an official from Seoul's Defense Ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The projects are among many agreements reached between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their three meetings this year, as part of a diplomatic initiative that eased tensions over the North's nuclear program.