The reconnected railway is part of an agreement between the leaders of the Koreas, signed in April. The convoy left Dorasan (in the South) and in 18 days will cross 1,200 km of tracks. Mons. You: "We need to take these steps together".
Seoul (AsiaNews) - For the first time in 10 years, a train has left South Korea and will cross the most militarized border in the world. The train will face an 18-day trip to the North and will be part of a joint mission to modernize the dilapidated Pyongyang railway network and connect it to the southern one.
The train, consisting of six carriages with dozens of South Korean officers and experts on board, left Dorasan station, just south of the inter-Korean border, around 9.05am this morning. The South Korean Unification Minister said the train is going to the Panmun station in Kaesong, a northern border town: it will be used to inspect 1,200 kilometers of tracks.
The reconnected rail line is part of an agreement between the leaders of the Koreas, signed in April, to modernize and reconnect the railway systems in an attempt to promote reconciliation of the Korean peninsula. The railway inspection is the first of its kind since 2007, when the two Koreas controlled a 412 km stretch, which connected Kaesong to Sinuiju.
North and South have operated freight services between the Dorasan station and the Panmun station for about a year until 2008, when relations between the two countries cooled. Since the peninsula was divided after the 1950-53 war, it is the first time that a South Korean train travels from Mount Kumgang to the Tumen River.
Archbishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon tells AsiaNews that the inspection "should have started in September, but was postponed by the United States". "Washington - he continues - feared possible violations imposed by the UN on North Korea. The project has regained momentum thanks to the dialogues between the countries and their military apparatuses. Without the approval of the USA, UN, China, etc. ... it is not possible to launch such initiatives. I hope that from now on the Americans will assume softer positions, because at the moment they are asking North Korea to humiliate themselves. However, it is necessary to take steps together ".