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Monday, October 15, 2018, 16:42
Koreas to break ground on inter-Korean railroad
By Xinhua
Monday, October 15, 2018, 16:42 By Xinhua

ROK's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, left, exchanges the joint statement with his DPRK counterpart Ri Son-gwon during their meeting at the southern side of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, ROK, Oct. 15, 2018. (KOREA POOL / YONHAP / AP)

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed Monday to hold a ceremony in late November or early December to modernize and eventually connect railways and roads across the inter-Korean border.

Senior delegates from the two Koreas also agreed to hold a general-grade military dialogue as early as possible to discuss ways to end hostile confrontation near border areas and how to form a joint inter-Korean military committee

The agreement was reached after the high-level dialogue held earlier in the day at the Peace House, a ROK building in the truce village of Panmunjom, according to a pool report from ROK media.

ALSO READ: DPRK, ROK call for end to war on peninsula

The two Koreas agreed on conducting a field study on railways along the west corridor of the Korean Peninsula from late October, and also on railways along the east corridor from early November, ahead of the ceremony.

Detailed schedules for the field study would be fixed later through the exchange of letters.

ROK President Moon Jae-in has proposed to Northeast Asian countries and the United States to jointly set up a so-called "East Asian Railroad Community" to connect railways across Northeast Asia via inter-Korean railroad links.

Moon said the community would lead to an energy and economy community in East Asia and eventually to a peace and security regime in Northeast Asia.

Senior delegates from the two Koreas also agreed to hold a general-grade military dialogue as early as possible to discuss ways to end hostile confrontation near border areas and how to form a joint inter-Korean military committee.

ROK's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, left, shakes hands with his DPRK counterpart Ri Son-gwon after exchanging the joint statement during their meeting at the southern side of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, ROK, Oct 15, 2018. (KOREA POOL / YONHAP / AP)

Following their third summit in Pyongyang in September, Moon and top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un agreed to end all hostile acts near the heavily-fortified border, with a buffer zone along the military demarcation line (MDL) that has left the peninsula divided since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice.

The senior-level talks were held to discuss ways to implement the Pyongyang Declaration, signed by Moon and Kim after their third summit in Pyongyang in September.

The five-member ROK delegation was led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, and the DPRK delegation was headed by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. 

READ MORE: ROK's Moon says DPRK means to abolish all nuclear weapons

The delegations agreed to hold a working-level dialogue on Oct 22 to discuss forestation cooperation. A separate working-level talks would be held in late October for healthcare cooperation.

ROK's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, center left, talks with his DPRK counterpart Ri Son-gwon during their meeting at the southern side of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, Oct 15, 2018. (KOREA POOL / YONHAP / AP)

To discuss the joint hosting of the 2032 Summer Olympics, the two Koreas would hold a sports dialogue later this month at the joint inter-Korean liaison office, which opened a month earlier at the DPRK's border town of Kaesong.

The two sides agreed to increase sports cooperation by jointly participating in international sports events, including the 2020 Summer Olympics, according to the joint statement.

Regarding the humanitarian issue, the two sides agreed to hold Red Cross talks next month at the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang to discuss the reunion of Korean families, who were separated by the Korean War.

The Korean families have been banned from meeting and contacting each other since the three-year fratricidal war ended with armistice. The peninsula remains in a technical state of war with the armistice.

ROK and the DPRK have discussed, through the exchange of letters, the humanitarian issues, including the restoration of the reunion venue in Mount Kumgang, and the launch of video reunion.

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