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North, South Korea mark rail project link idea despite sanctions barrier

NORTH and South Korea staged symbolic ceremony to mark the commencement of a project to re-connect the severed rail links between the two countries

01 January 2019 - 19:00
NORTH and South Korea staged symbolic ceremony to mark the commencement of a project to re-connect the severed rail links between the two countries.

Under the rules, however, UN Security Council approval is needed to advance the project beyond the idea stage, reports Bloomberg.



Plans to restore rail links severed by the Korean War were revived at meetings between North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae earlier this year.



South Korea said the Security Council granted an exemption to United Nations sanctions earlier this month to allow the ceremony to proceed, but additional measures are needed before work can begin, said the report.



The ceremony started at 10am, Yonhap News Agency reported. The rail project was first launched more than 15 years ago, but ended in political acrimony and global sanctions were imposed on North Korea over its pursuit of nuclear weapons.



The US, which holds a Security Council veto, has refused to ease the economic penalties until North Korea takes steps toward disarmament and talks between the two sides have achieved little progress.



Last week, North Korean state media said removal of American nuclear weapons from the region was a condition of its own disarmament, raising the stakes for President Donald Trump's efforts to hold a second summit.



Seoul has said work to modernise North Korean railways and roads before connecting them with its own wouldn't start until the international sanctions against Pyongyang were lifted, adding construction hinges on North Korea's denuclearisation.


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