North Korea and South Korea will unveil a landmark achievement
in their reconciliation this week.
At the general-level talks, the militaries of the two sides
agreed on Friday on the test run of trains to cross the heavily
fortified border. Cross-border trains have not run in 54 years.
The militaries of the two sides decided to provide guarantees
for the safe operation of the test runs on two rail lines on each
side of the peninsula.
The test run, scheduled for Thursday, would symbolize another
step in the reconciliation between the two countries
Last week's discussion was the first military contact between
North and South Korea in a year. Without a peace treaty to replace
the 1953 ceasefire that put the Korean War to an end, the two are
still technically at war.
The two Koreas agreed on the restoration of the train lines
seven years ago. This is believed to be one of the most important
projects of the inter-Korean rapprochement in recent years.
This step is a major breakthrough in South Korea's push for
expanding reconciliation projects with North Korea to reduce
tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Issuing a joint statement after their military talks, the two
sides acknowledged that military guarantees are necessary for
economic cooperation and exchanges.
The two Koreas are expected to deliberate military security
guarantees for future operations of the cross-border lines at a
This momentum in the reconciliation process is important to ease
military tensions and establish peace on the peninsula.
Their reconciliation has been moving on significantly since the
2000 summit between their leaders. South Korea has always left the
door ajar for diplomatic maneuvers with North Korea. It announced
that it is committed to its "sunshine policy" of engaging North
Korea even after the latter launched the missile tests last
Yet another sign of revived ties was evident last week. About
148 people from South Korea crossed the border on Wednesday to
reunite with more than 250 relatives in North Korea they have not
seen since the end of the Korean War.
The re-connection of the cross-border railway would speed up the
inter-Korean rapprochement process.
It is hoped that the two sides will keep the positive
developments on the peninsula moving forward.
(China Daily May 14, 2007)