South Korea's top nuclear envoy struck an upbeat note Thursday on the planned field survey of inter-Korean railways as he returned from a trip to the United States.
Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, also voiced optimism about the possibility of high-level talks between Pyongyang and Washington.
He led the inaugural "working group" talks with Stephen Biegun, the U.S. point man on Pyongyang, in Washington D.C.
The two sides discussed the issue of a joint on-site inspection by South and North Korea of their railways to modernize and re-connect them.
It was supposed to take place in late October but was delayed amid concern about possible negative impact on U.N.-led sanctions against the communist nation.
"The U.S. expressed very strong support for the survey project," Lee told reporters upon arriving at Incheon International Airport. "Thus, I think there will be good news in the near future."
On the prospect of the North and the U.S. holding high-level talks, Lee said the two sides are in close communication to set a schedule.
"I expect good news (on the matter) as well," he said, without ruling out the possibility of talks before the end of this month.
If President Donald Trump hopes to hold another summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un early next year, there is not much time to prepare for it.(Yonhap News)