South Korea and the DPRK plan to link their railways with access to the Trans-Siberian Railway

The railways of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea with access to the Trans-Siberian Railway will be finally linked by the end of this year. An agreement on this score was reached yesterday in Seoul at the session of the joint committee for economic cooperation of the two Korean states.

According to the assessment of the South Korean Yon-hap News Agency, the project for the restoration of railway traffic between the North and the South of the Korean Peninsula, which was interrupted on the eve of the Korean war of 1950-1953, has become one of the main symbols of the reconciliation of the two sides. It was the summit between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea that took place in the summer of 2000 in Pyongyang that marked the beginning of this process.

As has been reported by the YTN television company, at the negotiations in Seoul the sides have agreed to expand a direct trade exchange. Up to this time, the trade between two Koreas was carried out through the third countries, above all China. In the North Korean town of Kaesong, where a South Korean Science and Research Park is being built, it is planned to open a permanent mission which will help establishing contacts in the North for medium and small South Korean trade firms.

The current meeting of the experts from the South and the North in Seoul took place simultaneously with the beginning in Beijing of the six-sided negotiations on coming out from the crisis with regard to the DPRK nuclear programme and has demonstrated the aspiration of the two Korean countries to continue cooperation despite the political problems concerning North Korea.

The next session of the committee for economic cooperation between the South and the North is planned to hold in Pyongyang in October, this year.

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