A joint field survey between South and North Korea to reconnect cross-border railways in line with their April summit agreement is expected to take about three weeks to be completed, officials said Tuesday.
The two sides are in talks to launch the survey this week as part of efforts to modernize and eventually connect the railway systems of the two Koreas. Subject to the project are two cross-border railways — the western Gyeongui Line and the eastern Donghae Line.
A joint team of railway officials of the Koreas plans to inspect North Korea sections of the two lines — one from the North’s border city of Kaesong to the city of Sinuiju on the Gyeongui Line, and the other from the North’s Mount Kumgang to the Tumen River on the Donghae Line.
A South Korean locomotive is expected to carry five to six cars across the border to the North before a North Korean locomotive takes over the cars to test-run on the railways.
The passenger cars are expected to be comprised of the researchers’ office area, sleeping department and the dining section, along with other equipment needed for the study.
Though the Koreas need to consult over the total period of time needed to complete the inspection, it is expected to take around 20 days.
If the survey is carried out as planned, a groundbreaking ceremony could take place within this year as was agreed during the September summit.
Baik Tae-hyun, a unification ministry spokesman, earlier said the Koreas will coordinate details on the ceremony as they carry out the survey, when asked whether the two leaders of the Koreas will take part in the event.
The United Nations granted a sanctions exemption over the weekend, allowing the joint survey to be conducted across the border, but actual construction work will not be able to begin until international sanctions are lifted. (Yonhap)