Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Train heads North for joint railway inspection-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily

South Korea to send trains to North Korea in joint survey to connect railways separated since Korean War North Korean soldier defects to South
| 02 December, 2018, 13:12

White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said Trump and Moon, who met on Friday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, "reaffirmed their commitment to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula". From Kaesong, the train will travel a total of 2,600 kilometers (1,616 miles) on North Korean tracks for 18 days.

A train carrying a team of South Korean officials that will inspect railway sections in the North with their North Korean counterparts passes a section of the Gyeongui Line at the demilitarized zone in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Friday. She added the railway reconnection would help expand the country´s "economic territory" to Eurasia by land, as the division of the Korean peninsula has left South Korea geopolitically cut off from the continent for many decades. A freight train that ran from Dorasan Station in the South to Panmun Station in the North was stopped on November 28, 2008, after inter-Korean relations became strained.

The South Koreans and their counterparts will live in the train, inspecting two railway lines for a total of 18 days - one linking the North's southernmost Kaesong City to Sinuiju City near the Chinese border, and the other connecting Mount Kumgang near the inter-Korean border to Tumen River bordering Russian Federation in the east. The six cars are comprised of quarters for passengers, offices and sleeping, along with other areas reserved for fuel, generator and other equipment.


After the Gyeongui Line inspection is completed, it will move to the eastern town of Wonsan to begin a roughly 10-day inspection of the 800-km Donghae Line railway from Mount Kumgang all the way to Tumen River on the country's northeastern tip, the ministry said. From Seoul Station to Dorasan Station, they took the same train that went into the North.

The joint railway surveys were on hold before the U.N. Security Council on Saturday granted an exemption to sanctions that allowed them to proceed.

"We will closely consult with relevant countries going forward to make sure the inter-Korean railway connection project can proceed with the support of the worldwide community", Unification Minister Cho said. Despite the warming ties, it remains unclear whether the North's leader Kim Jong Un will make his first-ever visit to the South this year, as Seoul is hoping. Seoul initially said the joint surveys wouldn't violate United Nations sanctions but later said that Washington had different views and the two sides had discussed the matter.

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