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Old May 2nd, 2007, 05:12 AM   #1
hkskyline
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NORTH KOREA | Railways

Koreas open working-level railway talks to prepare for test runs of trains across border
26 April 2007

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Officials from North and South Korea opened working-level talks Friday to smooth out details for a planned historic test run of trains across their heavily guarded border, a South Korean official said.

The two-day talks in the North Korean border city of Kaesong come a week after the divided countries agreed to conduct the test runs on rebuilt rail tracks on May 17.

The North unilaterally called off a similar plan last year, citing objections from its military.

Last week, however, the North promised it would try to convince its military to guarantee the safety of travelers. The South plans to soon propose working-level military talks with its neighbor to work out an accord to protect passengers.

The test runs along rebuilt railroads would mark the first time trains have crossed the inter-Korean border in more than a half-century, and are a symbol of growing reconciliation between the two sides since a landmark inter-Korean summit in 2000.

Train services between the Koreas was halted in 1951, one year after the outbreak of the Korean war that ended in a cease-fire in 1953, not a peace treaty.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 01:39 PM   #2
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Koreas discuss details of historic cross-border rail test
13 May 2007

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North and South Korean officials held working-level talks Sunday to coordinate details for a historic railway test this week across their heavily armed border, a South Korean official said.

The meeting in Kaesong, a North Korean border city, comes days after the two rival Koreas agreed on security arrangements for the rail test set for Thursday, which would be the first time trains have crossed the border since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Two tracks -- which run through the eastern and western section of the border -- have been re-linked as part of reconciliation projects launched after leaders of the two Koreas held their first-ever summit in 2000.

The officials were discussing "procedures of the train test runs as well as plans to celebrate" the test, an official at South Korea's Unification Ministry said, asking not to be named, citing policy.

The test, however, is to be a single run of trains along the restored tracks on each side of the peninsula because isolated North Korea balks at the idea of allowing a regular service between the two countries.

One train from each side will cross the border, each carrying 200 people, and then return later that same day.

Seoul hopes the inter-Korean railway could ultimately be linked to Russia's Trans-Siberian railroad, and could allow an overland route connecting the peninsula to Europe -- significantly cutting delivery times for freight that now requires sea transport.

In another sign of revived reconciliation, some 100 North Koreans joined 440 South Koreans in a second day of family reunions at the North's Diamond Mountain resort. None of the relatives had seen each other since the end of the Korean War more than 50 years ago. The reunions are to end Monday.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 06:48 AM   #3
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Two Koreas set for first train crossing of border since 1950
16 May 2007

MUNSAN, South Korea (AP) - Trains were set to journey through the heavily armed border dividing the two Koreas for the first time in more than half a century, the latest symbolic move of reconciliation despite lingering tensions over the North's nuclear weapons.

The one-time test runs Thursday of trains along two restored tracks on the west and east sides of the peninsula come after repeated delays since the rail lines were linked in 2003.

"It's a historic day. I hope that from today the two Koreas will wash away the pain of tension and open the future of hope," Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung said as he arrived to lead the South Korean delegation on the ride into the North.

The two Koreas "should not be derailed from the track or hesitate" in their moves toward unification, North Korean Senior Cabinet Councilor Kwon Ho Ung said at a ceremony at Munsan station, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) south of the Demilitarized Zone, before the train departed.

Volleys of colored fireworks burst in the skies above the train as it moved into position in front of a red-carpeted platform for passengers to board, cheered on by a crowd of hundreds waving small paper flags depicting a unified Korean peninsula in blue.

The tests are scheduled to begin around midday Thursday with 150 people aboard two five-car trains -- one departing from the North and another from the South. Both trains will return later Thursday after spending a few hours on the opposite side.

On the western side of the border, 27.3 kilometers (17 miles) of track have been laid between the South's Munsan and Kaesong in the North. The new eastern line links North Korea's Diamond Mountain with Jejin in the South across 25.5 kilometers (16 miles) of track.

The two Koreas have resumed efforts at rapprochement after North Korea agreed in February to take initial steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs.

However, Pyongyang failed to shut down its sole bomb-making reactor by a mid-April deadline under that agreement with the U.S. and other regional powers. The North has said it will not move to disarm until a separate dispute over frozen funds is resolved, but that has been held up by technical issues involved in transferring the US$25 million (euro18.5 million) in its accounts.

The train test will be the latest hole punched through the DMZ since the two Koreas embarked on unprecedented reconciliation with their first-and-only summit in June 2000. Roads have also been restored and thousands of South Koreans cross annually as tourists visiting Diamond Mountain or to work in the joint-Korean industrial zone in Kaesong.

For South Korea, restoration of rail travel would help end its virtual island status, given the only land route out is through North Korea. A rail link could reduce delivery costs for its export-driven economy.

The rail test has been beset by repeated delays in the past, mainly because of the objections of North Korea's influential military.

It remains unclear when any regular train service between the two Koreas would start. North Korea's communist government is extremely reluctant to allow many foreign influences into the country as it seeks to maintain its grasp on power.

About a dozen South Koreans whose relatives have allegedly been abducted by North Korea staged a protest outside the Munsan train station, demanding the Seoul government do more to bring their loved ones home.

"Inter-Korean cooperation that ignores human rights is like building a castle with sand," read a protest sign.

"I wish the train would come back with my son if he is still alive," said Lee Kan-shim, 72, bursting into tears as police kept her from the site.

Trains still crossed between the North and South even after the division of the peninsula at the end of World War II. It wasn't until after the North invaded, starting the Korean War in 1950, that U.S. forces destroyed the tracks at the border, as well as the North's rail and road connections to China, to try to prevent infiltration by hostile forces.

The war ended in a 1953 cease-fire that has never been replaced with a peace treaty -- leaving the two Koreas technically at war.

------

Associated Press reporter Jae-soon Chang contributed to this report.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #4
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KBS News in Different Languages:

남북 열차, ‘분단’ 넘어 달렸다

Trains Cross Border for 1st Time in Nearly 60 Years

南北韩列车汽笛长鸣,开创了克服分裂,共创和平的新时代
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Old May 17th, 2007, 04:02 PM   #5
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BBC News has a report, a video and photos of the event.
Quote:
A pair of passenger trains have crossed the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea for the first time in more than 50 years.

The two trains - one travelling from the North and one from the South - each carried 150 invited passengers.

South Korea hailed it as a landmark in relations between the two countries.

But Thursday's crossing remains largely symbolic, the BBC's Charles Scanlon says. North Korea has so far only agreed to a one-off test-run.

For that, our correspondent adds, Pyongyang has demanded a high price.

South Korea has agreed to supply it with $80 million (£41m) worth of economic aid for the development of light industry.
More photos at ***********.

Last edited by Gag Halfrunt; May 17th, 2007 at 05:19 PM.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 05:47 PM   #6
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PHOTOS PLEASE!!!

Trains, rails, ..., etc.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 08:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qtya View Post
PHOTOS PLEASE!!!

Trains, rails, ..., etc.
Try clicking on the links.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 08:34 PM   #8
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this is great news. open lines between the north and south again.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 10:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newyorkrunaway1 View Post
this is great news. open lines between the north and south again.

Read between the lines! There are no scheduled services yet! I suspect that South Korea really wants to run sealed trains through North Korea to China. Passenger service will be very sporadic at the whim of the North Korean government.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 12:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainman Dave View Post
Read between the lines! There are no scheduled services yet! I suspect that South Korea really wants to run sealed trains through North Korea to China. Passenger service will be very sporadic at the whim of the North Korean government.
I could see freight services using this link to China but yes I think we wont be seeing scheduled services for a while yet
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Old May 18th, 2007, 03:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frog View Post
I could see freight services using this link to China but yes I think we wont be seeing scheduled services for a while yet
I agree, I meant sealed freight trains, not passenger trains
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Old May 18th, 2007, 03:18 PM   #12
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North Korea to South Korea railway?The trainset should be named "The Time Traveler"
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Old May 18th, 2007, 07:35 PM   #13
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Old May 18th, 2007, 08:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainman Dave View Post
Read between the lines! There are no scheduled services yet! I suspect that South Korea really wants to run sealed trains through North Korea to China. Passenger service will be very sporadic at the whim of the North Korean government.

HAHA!! read between the lines!!! LOL!!!

anyways. did it say anywhere in the comment about anything having to do with passenger rail? NO! it was simply a comment on the progression of the region. pay attention and stop jumping into stuff before you actually absorb it.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 04:44 PM   #15
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thi isn't so much as for passenger service, but a freight from South Korea through China and Russia to Europe. Russia is pushing for this even considering writing off North Korean debt of 8$ bln for rights for northkorean track..
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Old May 21st, 2007, 10:10 PM   #16
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It´s very possitive this news, the unification of Korea and a development in North Korea and its infrastructures is basic.
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Old June 10th, 2007, 05:55 PM   #17
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There are passenger rail services once a week along the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Pyongyang.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 12:42 PM   #18
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NKorea Agrees to Start Cargo Trains
15 November 2007

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea agreed in principle to formally open a reconnected railway for regular cargo service across its heavily armed border with South Korea before the end of the year, an official said Thursday.

The two sides were trying set a specific date at high-level talks in Seoul for starting service on the 16-mile-long track for transport to and from a joint industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Nam-shik said.

"Both sides shared an understanding that it would be meaningful in further vitalizing the Kaesong industrial complex," Kim said.

In May, the sides conducted a one-time test run on the track and another reconnected rail line, marking the first train crossings across the frontier in more than half a century. But no regular service has yet started.

The rail's opening would mark one of the first tangible results of a landmark summit between South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang last month.

This week's talks between the prime ministers of the two sides -- the first such meeting in 15 years -- are aimed at fleshing out the summit accord that calls for greater peace and economic cooperation between the two sides.

Also on the agenda for the meetings running through Friday are the South's offers to repair a major North Korean road and a railway, build two shipyards there and provide medical assistance for the impoverished nation.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 10:36 AM   #19
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Koreas to run cross-border cargo train every day
22 November 2007

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North and South Korea agreed Thursday to run a cargo train service every day on a reconnected track across their heavily armed border starting next month, the Unification Ministry said.

The agreement was a follow-up to a deal reached last week at the first prime ministers' talks between the two sides in 15 years, which calls for starting regular cross-border freight train service on Dec. 11.

Working-level officials met this week to specify details, including how often trains will run on the short track linking the South to the North's border city of Kaesong, home to an industrial zone for dozens of South Korean factories.

A South Korean train will make a round trip every day to the North on the 25-kilometer-long (16-mile-long) rail, transporting cargo to and from the factory park, the ministry said in a statement.

It would be the first regular train service between the two sides, which were divided more than half a century ago.

Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung said the two Koreas also agreed in principle to expand the service to passenger transportation and open another reconnected rail running on the eastern part of the divided peninsula in the future.

The two nations need to work on a military agreement on security arrangements on the border-crossing before the service can be launched. The North Korean military has refused such agreements in the past.

Lee said the issue will be discussed at next week's defense ministers' talks in Pyongyang, but expects it to be approved because North Korean leader Kim Jong Il backed the project at last month's summit with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun.

South Korea hopes the inter-Korean railway will ultimately be linked to Russia's Trans-Siberian railroad and allow an overland route connecting the peninsula to Europe -- significantly cutting delivery times for freight that now requires sea transport.

Also Thursday, the South's government announced a broad reconciliation plan with North Korea that sets out goals and principles in its efforts to improve ties with Pyongyang. One objective in the five-year plan is for the two Koreas to open a permanent representative in each other's capital.

But the plan's implementation is uncertain because Roh leaves office in February and it is unclear if his successor would carry it on. Lee Myung-bak, who currently leads in opinion polls for the Dec. 19 presidential election, has criticized Roh for being too soft on Pyongyang.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 12:36 PM   #20
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Two Koreas agree on cross-border train

SEOUL, Dec 2, 2007 (AFP) - North and South Korea have agreed to run a regular daily cross-border freight train service from next week for the first time in over half a century, officials said Sunday.

Negotiators from both sides on Saturday mapped out details on the rail service at talks in the North in a follow-up to their leaders' agreement, the South's unification ministry said in a statement.

President Roh Moo-Hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il agreed at a historic summit in early October to resume regular freight services, and both sides last month set December 11 for their inauguration.

The service, the first since the 1950-53 Korean War, will begin with a twice-daily border crossing by a 10-carriage cargo train, the ministry said.

The train will leave Munsan in the South at 9:00 am (0000GMT) and reach Bongdong in the North before returning to Munsan at 2:00 pm, it said.

Defence chiefs from both sides last week agreed to provide a security guarantee for the daily cross-border cargo train to run the 20-kilometre (12-mile) section of track across the heavily-fortified border.

Seoul hopes the service, which connects to Bondong near the Seoul-funded Kaesong industrial estate in the North, will slash transport costs dramatically.

At present, hundreds of trucks cross the border daily to move raw materials north to Kaesong, and to transport finished products back to South Korea.

Some 20,000 North Koreans earning about 60 dollars a month produce clothes, utensils, watches and other goods for South Korean firms at the estate.

Labour-starved South Korea sees Kaesong as a model for future joint economic projects to narrow the huge wealth gap in preparation for possible reunification.

Cross-border trains made test runs in May.

The two Koreas still remain technically at war after their conflict ended only in an armistice, not a permanent peace treaty.
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