Kim Tong-hyung, Associated Press Updated5:59 PM PST, Friday, November 23, 2018 FIL – On 15 October 2018, the film image,…
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea said Saturday that the UN Security Council granted an exception to sanctions enabling investigations on North Korean rail sections Korea’s desire to connect to the South.
The investigations would require the South to bring to the northern fuel and a variety of goods, including any cars to test on the northern track.
Korea plans to hold a groundbreaking ceremony at the end of an ambitious project to connect its railways and roads agreed by their leaders. But beyond surveys and tapes, they can not move much further without lifting US-led sanctions against North Korea, which is unlikely before Pyongyang is taking stricter measures to leave its nuclear weapons and missiles.
The plan to modernize North Korea’s obsolete railways and roads and reconnect them to the south was among many agreements reached between North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and the South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who met three times this year under a diplomatic pressure that relieved the tensions across the north’s nuclear program. Kim also met President Donald Trump in Singapore in June when they issued a statement on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing how and when it would happen.
North Korea insists that sanctions should be removed only before any progress in nuclear weapons negotiations. There is also concern between the United States and South Korea over the pace of inter-Korean involvement, as Washington says should go in line with US-led efforts to cleave the North.
South Korea said that the joint investigations of North Korean Railways would not violate UN sanctions and had hoped to launch them in October. Seoul later said that Washington had different views and the two sides had discussed the issue in a newly established working group.
Although the Nordic countries take concrete measures against nuclear weapons and get sanctions, experts say that updating North Korean rail networks and trains slowly pushing along the rails that were first built in the early 20th century would require a massive effort that could take decades and tens of billions of dollars.
UN Sanctions on North Korea have been significantly strengthened since 2016, when Pyongyang intensified its weapons tests. The measures now include trade ban on “double-use” technology that can potentially be used for weapon development, transport vehicles and machinery and fuel imports. Washington’s own sanctions against Pyongyang restrict an even greater range of economic activities and target a larger list of companies and individuals.