Kaeson railway line negotiations

From the Korea Herald:

South and North Korea resume talks today to discuss the opening of an inter-Korean railway link ahead of former President Kim Dae-jung’s visit to the North in June, an official at the Unification Ministry said yesterday.

In the two-day talks, the schedule for train test-operations and the inauguration ceremony of the cross-border railroad will top the agenda, an official said.

Last month the two Koreas failed to reach an agreement on the issue as the North demanded South Korea provide additional material and equipment to complete the construction of the foundation for its rail station.

Earlier this year, the ministry notified Pyongyang of Kim’s wish to revisit the communist state to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in June. The former president wishes to travel via the reconnected inter-Korean rail link, making the inaugural train journey from Seoul to Pyongyang.

The two Koreas will hold further inter-Korean working-level talks next week from May 16 to work out the details of Kim’s second visit to the North. South Korea hopes a test-run of cross-border trains can be conducted before Kim’s visit to the reclusive country next month.

The two Koreas have almost completed construction work on reconnecting the link that has been closed for half a century. The reconnection of two railway lines that cross the 248-kilometer-long Demilitarized Zone is one of the achievements of the landmark summit in 2000 between then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

The 27.3-kilometer Gyeongui railway connects the two border cities of Munsan in the South and Gaeseong in the North, while the 25.5-kilometer Donghae railway crosses the border at the peninsula’s eastern coast.


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