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Seoul earmarks more than USD 260 mn for rail, roads in North

AFP  |  Seoul 

has earmarked more than USD 260 million to build new railways and roads in the North, an said Thursday, as pushes ahead with cross-border projects despite international sanctions on

The figure comes as and follow increasingly divergent approaches to Pyongyang, with the South pursuing engagement while the US insists pressure on it should be maintained until it denuclearises.

South Korean Moon Jae-in offered to help upgrade the North's outdated rail and and connect it with the South's in meetings this year with the North's

plans to spend about 295.1 billion won (USD 264 million) on the schemes next year, an at Seoul's unification ministry told reporters, with most of it -- 186.4 billion won -- given freely and 108.7 billion won in loans.

"It is an estimate for now... we will continue efforts, including policy coordination with the US, to carry out the projects agreed between the two Koreas without a hitch," said the who declined to be named.

Security allies Seoul and agreed last week to set up a new working group to co-ordinate policy amid growing concerns in the US over Moon's approach.

The official's comments came as a Southern lawmaker accused Seoul of ignoring UN sanctions on the North.

"The US maintains the position that it would maintain maximum pressure until the North produces visible progress on denuclearisation and so does the international community including the EU," told newspaper.

"The budget allocation by our government may make it look like our government is undermining international coordination on sanctions on the North," he was quoted as saying.

The isolated, impoverished North is under multiple sets of sanctions imposed over past nuclear and missile tests staged in violation of UN resolutions.

Lifting the measures -- which bans much of its trade including coal exports -- is a key demand of Pyongyang's in its ongoing denuclearisation talks with the US.

Kim and held a historic summit in June in and signed a vaguely worded deal on denuclearisation, but little progress has been made since then, with the two countries sparring over the exact meaning of the agreement.

Planned talks between US and one of Kim's right-hand men, Kim Yong Chol, were also delayed this week.

Moon -- a dove who advocates dialogue with the North to push it towards denuclearisation -- has met Kim three times so far this year and another summit is being planned in Seoul.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 08 2018. 11:40 IST