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Koreas concur on holding groundbreaking ceremony for rail, road reconnection project: official

North Korea 14:21 December 12, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea share an understanding on the need to hold a groundbreaking ceremony before year's end for a project to modernize North Korean railways and connect them to the South, the unification ministry said Wednesday.

President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed at their third summit in Pyongyang in September to hold a ceremony before the end of the year to break ground for the project to reconnect two sets of cross-border railways and roads.

As part of the project, the two sides have been conducting a joint railway inspection since last month to check the conditions of the North's railways. They also plan to conduct a similar inspection for cross-border roads before starting construction on the project.

"There is a consensus between the South and the North on holding a groundbreaking ceremony within this year," Baik Tae-hyun, a ministry spokesperson, said at a regular briefing. "We've delivered basic plans to the North and discussions are now under way."

Officials said that the South has also been in discussions with the United States about whether the envisioned ceremony would violate sanctions. In that case, a sanctions waiver would be required for the ceremony to go ahead. The U.N. Security Council granted a similar sanctions exemption for the railway inspection project.

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