08/01/2005, 00.00
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In October, a train will unite the two Koreas

The announcement comes from Seoul's Unification Minister and the North Korean government. Meanwhile, the six-party talks press ahead in Beijing.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pyongyang and Seoul have agreed to open cross-border road and rail links in October. This was announced yesterday by South Koreas's Unification Minister. The agreement is the outcome of a meeting held last month in Pyongyang between the South Korean Unification Minister, Chung Dong-young, and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, who proposed opening a rail link through the demilitarized zone along the western coast before an eastern coast rail line is finished.

The western coast rail link is all but completed and it will serve to make better use of the technological-industrial park which Seoul is building beyond the border in Kaesong; the other train line under construction crosses particularly difficult terrain and will need more time to be finished. 

Meanwhile, in Beijing, talks are continuing between the two Koreas, Japan, Russia, the US and China about a joint declaration on North Korean nuclear disarmament drawn up in recent days by Chinese diplomats. Washington and Pyongyang have not yet reached even minimal agreement as to the modality and timetable of disarmament. Nor does the declaration drawn up by Beijing go into any of these particulars.

Yesterday, North Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Paek Nam-sun, told Pyongyang media that the north would be willing to accept the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and international inspections, as long as the US removed its nuclear arms from South Korea (Washington denies there are any left). Other conditions mentioned by the minister were that economic sanctions be lifted and that the north will be taken off the American government's list of countries which sponsor international terrorism.

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