Progress toward an agreement between the U. S. and North Korea may have slowed, but South Korea has taken another remarkable step toward linking up…
Progress toward an agreement between the U. S. and North Korea may have slowed, but South Korea has taken another remarkable step toward linking up with the neighboring regime — by train.
Last week, a South Korean train crossed the border into North Korea for the first time in a decade. It was a prelude to the two Koreas reconnecting their railways, after being separated for more than half a century.
South Korea is determined to push railway development forward, despite the lack of progress on the North Korean nuclear issue.
At the Dorasan Station, the last stop before the inter-Korean border, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon on Friday saw off nearly 30 engineers and officials, as they prepared to head north.
“Through the connected railways, South and North Korea will prosper together,” he said, “and solidify peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
North and South Korean inspectors will cover about 1,600 miles over 18 days, surveying the state of the rails in North Korea. They will bed down in a sleeper car. Other parts of the train are stocked with bottled water and instant noodles.
South Korea is pushing hard to break ground on the reconnection project by year’s end.
“You will visit train stations and cross hills and rivers in North Korea that no outsiders have visited before,” Cho told the surveyors.
Hinting at what shape inspectors might find the north’s railways, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un joked at an April summit that it would be an embarrassment if South Korean President Moon Jae-in were to travel by train to his country, suggesting the ride would not be smooth or comfortable.

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