South Koreans go to North to explore railway reconnection

02 December, 2018, 15:02 | Author: Angel Logan
  • South Korea to send trains to North Korea in joint survey to connect railways separated since Korean War

The two Koreas have made significant progress in improving their relationship over the past year.

"The inter-Korean railway connection project is meant to overcome division and open a new future of the Korean Peninsula", Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said at a ceremony at Dorasan Station near the border, according to pool reports.

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.

Unless the North follows through on denuclearization, the sanctions will prevent the South from providing further resources to update the rail system, per The New York Times.

In an apparent bid to encourage a hesitating Kim to commit to a trip, Moon elicited an expression of support for such a visit from US President Donald Trump at a summit in Buenos Aires on Friday.

The military said it will question the soldier about how he escaped across the border, a 2.5-mile wide, 155-mile long buffer zone that's lined with barbed wire and filled with land mines.

At Kaesong, South Korea's locomotive was swapped with North Korea's, and three North Korean cars which Seoul's Unification Ministry did not immediately specify were attached to the six South Korean cars. Fifty-six South Korean officials will participate in the surveys, 28 each for the inspections on the western and eastern sections, the ministry said.

Last November, a North Korean soldier was critically wounded in the jointly controlled area after he fled to the South amid a hail of bullets fired by his former comrades.

The current railway project has also faced delays over concerns it could violate United Nations sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear and missile programmes.

More than 30,000 North Korean civilians have fled their homeland but most flee across the porous frontier with China, and rarely across the inter-Korean border which is fortified with minefields and barbed wire. However, a North Korean soldier has now achieved this feat. It was essential that global sanctions pressure be maintained on North Korea until its complete denuclearisation was achieved, he said.

Earlier on Friday, while meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, Trump discussed his intention to hold a second U.S. -DPRK summit, and restated with Moon a common commitment to work closely together on making it happen.

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

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