North approves Korean train run
Korean military leaders agree first cross-border train run in more than 50 years.
Economic officials from both sides agreed last month to conduct the train run on May 17, but the North Korean military had a final say on whether it goes forward because such a border crossing requires security arrangements.
On Wednesday, the North’s delegation to high-level military talks agreed to provide security for the rail test, said Col. Moon Sung-mook, a spokesman for the South Korean delegation.
“There were no differences of opinions in that they should provide military guarantees necessary for the trial run,” Moon said after the second day of talks at the truce village of Panmunjom, according to pool reports.
|Rail links between the two Koreas have been
severed for more than 50 years [Reuters]
South Korea hopes the inter-Korean railways could ultimately be linked to Russia’s Trans-Siberian railroad and allow an overland route connecting the peninsula to Europe.
That would significantly cut delivery times for freight that now requires sea transport.
Last year, the two sides agreed on a similar rail test, but North Korea called it off at the last minute.
At the time North Korea’s military raised objections after the South rejected its demand that their disputed western sea border be redrawn.
The North’s delegation raised the sea border issue at this week’s talks, but did not make the issue a condition of agreeing to the rail test.
The two Koreas remain technically at war because the Korean War ended in a cease-fire that has never been replaced with a peace treaty.