Rail Minister wants talks with North, South Korean counterparts

Russian Rail Minister Gennady Fadeyev has moved to invite his counterparts from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK, and the longtime rival Republic of Korea, ROK, to hold trilateral talks in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East. Fadeyev put forward the initiative Monday while meeting with South Korean ambassador to Russia Cho Tae Ick.

The Rail Ministry's Center for Media Interaction told RIA Novosti the trilateral talks are intended as a way to speed up the implementation of deals reached by President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on planned reconstruction of the Trans-Korean railway and linking it to the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Fadeyev underscored that in the upcoming talks "the participation of representatives of economic team ministries would definitely be necessary." The issues that are yet to be negotiated include the terms of the parties' respective stakes in the project's implementation, the actual track where the railroad would run, and guarantees for cost-effective freight.

The minister indicated that raising the necessary funds for the project is another big issue. "To address this task," he said, "I believe it worthwhile already at this stage to create an international consortium for the construction and subsequent running of the line under reconstruction." He added he'd informed Cho Tae Ick that the Ministry had made the decision to use its own funds to modernize a 240-km track from Ussuriisk to Khasan, next to Russia's border with North Korea. "That decision is effectively the contribution of Russian rail workers to the implementation of the project of linking the two railroads."

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