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Two Koreas discuss inter-Korean rail connection, modernization on Tuesday

Two Koreas discuss inter-Korean rail connection, modernization on Tuesday

The two Koreas are sitting down for another
round of discussions today. This time, their talks are on railway cooperation
between Seoul and Pyongyang. Our unification ministry correspondent Oh
Jung-hee has more. Delegations from Seoul and Pyongyang met again
on Tuesday — this time, to discuss inter-Korean railway connections. The talks began at 10AM, Korea time, at the
border village of Panmunjom. It’s the first time that the two Koreas have
discussed railways since 2008. The delegates stressed they’ll try and touch
upon various practical issues… to successfully implement April’s summit agreement, the Panmunjom
Declaration. “There’s been a drought recently and the weather’s
been pretty hot, but today we’re seeing some welcome rain and the Imjin-gang river rose
as well. I have a feeling that we could see some good
results from our meeting today.” “I believe there are no differences on our
willingness to connect our people’s rail artery. Railways are the future of our economy. I believe, if we put our wisdom and power
together on this glorious project, we could create some good results for our people.” The two Koreas connected one railway in 2004
— between the South Korean capital Seoul and North Korean city of Sinuiju — but renovation
is needed to modernize it. In addition to that railway, South and North
Korea are hoping to connect their railway along the eastern coast of the peninsula — which
would start off in South Korea’s southeastern city of Busan, cut through North Korea and
even go into Russia and head towards Europe. For that, the two Koreas will also have to
find a way to modernize North Korea’s railroads which are very old and can only allow trains
to travel at low speeds. But if it can be done, it would have a big
impact. South Korea will be connected to the rest
of the continent, which would enable the movement of people and goods to Asia and Europe by
train. But it’s difficult to expect specific actions
needed for actually connecting and upgrading railways because of the international sanctions
on North Korea. So for now, Seoul and Pyongyang are expected
to agree on investigating the current status of the rail network and conducting joint studies
on how to modernize it. Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.

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