A ground-breaking ceremony for the planned reconnection and modernization of inter-Korean railways will likely take place in late December. As the United States and the United Nations have initiated a process for exempting the inter-Korean railway reconnection from the international sanctions on North Korea, Washington has announced that the U.S. and South Korea will scale back their annual Foal Eagle exercise in spring next year.
“The strong support that the U.S. expressed at the South Korea-U.S. working group meeting (on Wednesday) over a proposed joint railway field study with North Korea includes (support for) the plan to hold a ground-breaking ceremony before the end of this year,” said a diplomatic source well-versed in the Seoul-Washington relations. “The ground-breaking ceremony for the railway and road reconnection will likely be held in late December.”
Earlier, the two Koreas agreed to hold the ceremony in late November or early December. Negotiations with the U.S. over a temporary sanctions exemptions for a joint railway field study hit a snag, sparking speculations that a ground-breaking ceremony might not be held this year. An official at South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Thursday that Seoul is in consultations with Washington, the U.N. and other relevant countries to discuss temporary sanctions exemptions for a joint railway field study with North Korea.
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