Havana Cuba Business Travel Culture and Politics

Havana Cuba News

Cuba Politics News

Posted December 11, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

Email this article | Print this article | Search Havana Journal        

(I posted this story to show that if an old cold war country like North Korea can open up then Cuba might not be far away. Perhaps Fidel and Raul might see this as a historic event)

Jonathan Watts, east Asia correspondent | Guardian

North Koreans at Panmun station in Kaesong greet the first freight train service since 1950 to cross the border Photograph: Suh Myoung-gon/AP Photo/Yonhap
Regular freight train services between North and South Korea resumed today for the first time since 1950 amid rising hopes for peace on the divided peninsula.

A 12-car freight train laden with construction materials was the first to make what could become a daily journey between the rich, open South and the poor, isolated North.

The 10-mile track crosses the demilitarised zone along the 38th parallel, which is said to be the world’s most heavily fortified border.

Article continues
Following a test-run in May, officials said they hoped the track’s reopening would eventually lead to links with the Trans-Siberian railway, which would connect the South and North Korean capitals, Seoul and Pyongyang, to the capitals of Europe more than 5,000 miles away.

Lee Chul, president of Korea Railroad, hoped that South and North Koreans could travel together by rail to cheer for a joint Olympic team in Beijing next summer.

“Though we start with a cargo train, it will lead to a passenger train service and will soon be linked to the continental trains,” Lee told reporters.

“The economic benefits are countless.”

The South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, hailed the resumption of rail-links as a political and economic breakthrough that demonstrates the benefits of engaging with North Korea.

The immediate beneficiary will be the Kaesong industrial plant on the northern side of the border.

Sixty-four South Korean firms have opened factories in the groundbreaking project, employing 21,600 North Korean workers. The companies will now benefit from cheaper transport costs by using the railway instead of the two roads across the border.

Although North and South Korea remain technically at war, hopes for a lasting peace are at their highest level in more than a decade.

A year after Pyongyang tested its first nuclear bomb, relations with the United States, which has thousands of troops in South Korea, have improved dramatically in recent months.

In May, North Korea shut down its Yongbyon nuclear plant. Last week, the US president, George Bush, sent a letter to Kim Jong-il - the first known direct correspondence between the two leaders - and Washington has invited North Korean officials to a financial seminar.

Would you like to add more information?

Only members can add more information. Please register or log in

  • Advertise at Havana Journal Inc
We recommend this AirBnB Food and Drink Experience... Cuban flavors: Food, Rum and Cigars
Images of Cuba
Rare photo of the Old Man and the Sea Gregorio Fuentes
Follow Havana Journal
SUBSCRIBE to our Cuba Watch newsletter
LIKE us on Facebook

FOLLOW us on Twitter

CONNECT with us on Linked In

Section Archive
Havana Journal, Inc. BBB Business Review

Member of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy