October 22, 2007
Korea Is Re-Connected
[In my Jan. 1, 2007 posting, I indicated a hope that the inter-Korea railroad would run soon to exemplify progress in inter-Korean reconciliation. It occurred on May 17, 2007. See related article from South Korea. -ed.]
After more than a half century of division since the Korean War, the Korean peninsula is re-connected -- symbolically and physically-- via railroads and highways. A set of parallel railroad and highway was completed in the western Korea, north of Seoul and linking to Pyongyang, and another set in the eastern Korea, near Mr. Keumgang. The automobile highways were used since 2004, transporting delegates, businessmen and tourists across the DMZ, averaging more than 350,000 per year. The railway operation was delayed due to technical issues -- until a successful test run took place this year. The photos above show the gate at the military demarcation line being opened, a train from North Korea passing the line into South Korea, and being greeted by well-wishers. Simultaneously, a train from South Korea travelled to North Korea in a similar fashion. A regularly-scheduled rail crossings will be the next step.
Ships from South Korea regularly dock in North Korean ports, bringing humanitarian aid and trade merchandises, and vice versa. Airplanes have been allowed to land on the other side. All these remarkable developments are valuable stepping stones for Korean reconciliation, peace and reunification.