South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday resumed normal operation of cross-border railway after a 56-year-long break-off of regular inter-Korean railway service.
A South Korean cargo train departed the Munsan station at 06:20 a.m. local time (2120 GMT Monday) and crossed the military demarcation line (MDL), the border between South Korea and DPRK, at about 08:30 a.m. local time (2330 GMT Monday). It is scheduled to return to South Korea at around 12:10 local time (0310 GMT Tuesday) after a ceremony at DPRK's Panmum Station.
Under an agreement between the two sides, the cargo train will travel between South Korea's Munsan Station to DPRK's Panmun Station once every day. It will mainly carry raw materials and manufactured goods between South Korea and DPRK's border city of Kaesong, where the Kaesong inter-Korean industrial complex is located.
South Korean Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung and about 200 South Koreans will travel to the Panmun station to participate in a joint ceremony marking the launch of the cross-border cargo train service.
South Korea and DPRK agreed to reconnect the railways between them in June 2000 during the first inter-Korean summit. The reconnection of cross-border railways were completed in late 2005. On May 17 this year, South Korea and DPRK conducted one-round test runs at two cross-border railways.
In early October, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and DPRK top leader Kim Jong-il agreed at their summit meetings in Pyongyang to operate daily service of cargo transportation at a 20- km segment between the two sides. The prime ministers of the two sides decided in mid-November to launch the daily railway transportation service on Dec. 11.
(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2007)