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(LEAD) Feasibility study waived for inter-Korean highway

All News 13:22 December 02, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS background in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has decided to waive a preliminary feasibility study for a project to build a highway near the border with North Korea as part of efforts to reconnect a cross-border road, officials said Sunday.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance recently accepted the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport's request to forego the feasibility study for the project to build an 11.8 kilometer highway between Munsan and Dorasan Station, just south of inter-Korean border, by 2020, according to the transport ministry.

"As the Munsan-Dorasan highway belongs to the South, the government can push forward the construction project irrespective of international sanctions on the North. The highway is not subject to an economic analysis as it is a core part of inter-Korean economic cooperation," a spokesman for the transport ministry said.

As a new construction project with a required budget of over 50 billion won (US$45 million), it must undergo a preliminary feasibility study. But the study usually takes at least six months or up to three to four years depending on projects.

The government has allocated 517.9 billion won for the Munsan-Dorasan highway in the South, the ministry said.

In the North, a 171 kilometer highway between Pyongyang and the North's western border city of Kaesong will be built once denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula is achieved and economic sanctions on the North are lifted, it said.

The two Koreas pursued the road construction between Munsan and Kaesong in 2015, but it has been mothballed since early 2016, when Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test.

President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed at their first summit in April to reconnect two sets of cross-border roads and railways. The two leaders agreed in September's third summit to break ground for the project before the end of the year.

This file image shows the planned railways and highways between two Koreas. (Yonhap)


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