South Korea strikes ahead with railroad plans amid North’s silence

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South Korea’s unification ministry said it has mapped out plans to renovate railroads in North Korea, despite a lack of response from the Kim Jong Un regime on moving forward on inter-Korea projects.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said Thursday Seoul plans to restore a 500-mile train route that runs from Mount Kumgang to Rajin-Sonbong on North Korea’s eastern coast, and a 270-mile railroad that connects the southern city of Kaesong to the northern city of Sinuiju, which faces the border with China.

“The inter-Korean railway cooperation has been approached from the existing railroads due to the need to take advantage of the existing rail bed,” Cho said, according to Yonhap.

The South Korean official added the number of lanes and train speeds have not been determined because negotiations with North Korea have not taken place.

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South Korea’s railroad plans are being developed as Seoul continues to plan for a Kim Jong Un visit to the South.

Public opinion of the North Korean regime took a turn following revelations Ri Son Gwon, a senior North Korean official, berated the South’s business executives during a summit luncheon in Pyongyang.

Cho said before a parliamentary foreign affairs committee Kim’s trip to the South is important not only for inter-Korea ties but U.S.-North Korea relations as well, Yonhap reported.

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“I will focus my efforts so practical measures for denuclearization can be discussed at the second U.S.-North Korea summit,” Cho said.

U.S President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would meet Kim again in early 2019.

The South Korean official also denied he knew anything about an expression of “concern” relayed to Pyongyang, following reports of Ri’s remarks to South Korean executives like Samsung Electronics’ Jay Y. Lee.

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“I cannot confirm” a message was relayed to North Korea, Cho said.

Seoul Pyongyang News reported Im Jong-seok, President Moon Jae-in’s chief secretary, had said on Tuesday the concerns regarding Ri’s comments were “adequately conveyed” to the North.

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