North, South Korea to launch railroad survey after sanction exemption

North Korean people walk at a railway station near the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 5, 2018. Pool photo/EPA-EFE

SEOUL, Nov. 26 (UPI) — North and South Korea will begin a joint railway inspection at the earliest possible time as the United Nations Security Council exempted the survey from sanctions last week.

Seoul’s unification ministry said Monday that it and North Korean officials are discussing dates for a joint railway survey.

“We can’t reveal an exact date as it’s still under discussion,” said Baik Tae-kyun, spokesman of the ministry, in a briefing on Monday. “It will be released as it’s decided.”

The ministry’s other sources told Hankyoreh that the North and South will start this week examining the railroads that the two Koreans want to reconnect.

The survey is expected to take about 20 days and would require a South Korean train carrying resources to cross the border and connect to a North Korean train for the joint survey, according to the Hankyoreh report.

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North and South Korean leaders agreed to reconnect disjointed railways and modernize North Korean railways at a summit with a goal to hold a ceremony that announces a launch of the construction sometime next month.

North and South Korean officials decided to conduct on-site inspections before launching plans for construction.

The inter-Korean railway project, however, has been subject to debates on whether it breaches U.N. sanctions as it involves transportation of equipment and materials that the U.N. forbids.

U.N. sanctions do not allow any trades or shipment of materials that could be used for the North’s development of nuclear weapons, as well as a transfer of petroleum products, industrial machinery, transportation vehicles, iron, steel, and other metals, according to the U.N. Security Council.

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