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Koreas in consultation to fix schedule for road inspection across border

All Headlines 11:40 December 05, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea are in consultation to determine when and how they will conduct a joint inspection of roads of the two Koreas to modernize and reconnect them across their border, the unification ministry said Wednesday.

In August, the two Koreas conducted an eight-day joint field inspection of a road in the western region running from Kaesong, a town in North Korea near the border, to Pyongyang.

But their planned inspection of a road along the North's eastern region between Goseong in the South and Wonsan in the North has not yet been conducted. They earlier agreed to continue to discuss the details of the issue.

"Consultations are currently under way. Future schedules will be determined (based on the outcome)," Baik Tae-hyun, a ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

He said that the Seoul government has yet to propose any dates for the joint project, dismissing a media report that the two Koreas have agreed to start the inspection next week.

Koreas in consultation to fix schedule for road inspection across border - 1

The leaders of the Koreas agreed in April to modernize and eventually reconnect rail and road systems across their border in a bid to foster reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula.

Following a delay that lasted months, the two Koreas recently launched an 18-day inspection on the western and eastern rail lines in the North.

A 28-member South Korean team sent to conduct the inspection is to return home later in the day after a 6-day survey of the western line. A new inspection team will be sent to the North on Saturday to study the eastern rail system until Dec. 17.

With no schedule yet fixed for the road inspection, speculation is mounting that the two Koreas will not be able to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the road and railway connection projects as promised before the end of this year.

The spokesman still held out hope that the promise will be kept, saying that the government continues to make relevant preparations.

"The Goseong-Wonsan section subject to inspection is relatively shorter than the railways being investigated," he also said, hinting that there is still time to carry out the inspection and hold the groundbreaking ceremony this year.

Asked if the road inspection needs sanctions exemptions as was the case with the rail survey, Baik did not provide a direct answer, only saying that it could be determined in accordance with the outcome of consultations between the two Koreas.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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