Ceremony held to reconnect N and S Korea

North Korea, South Korea set to hold groundbreaking ceremony for railway project

Guests take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for rail, road connection across border between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at Panmun Station in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong on December 26, 2018.

Any progress on the project, however, will require changes to United States-led economic actions against North Korea.

Attendees from the South Korean side included Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, Lee Hae-chan, chief of the ruling Democratic Party, and other parliamentary leaders.

A number of lawmakers supportive of the Moon Jae-in administration's policies towards the North were in the entourage, as well as a handful of rail and road officials and experts.

The highly symbolic meeting came weeks after the two countries conducted a joint survey of sections of the North's rail network that could one day provide direct services to the South.

However, Kim Yun Hyok, the North's top railway official reiterated Pyongyang's stance in insisting the South stop toeing the U.S. line on maintaining sanctions on the North until it gives up its nuclear weapons.

Kim Yun Hyok, the DPRK vice railway minister, said in a congratulatory speech that the ceremony was held at a historic moment when the peninsula was at a turning point and the desire for peace and prosperity was stronger than ever.

"Negotiation is at a standstill only because the USA did not clarify what would be exchanged for North Korea's willingness to destroy the Yongbyon nuclear plant", Cheong Seong-jang, vice president of research planning at Seoul-based Sejong Institute, told ABC News. "We have finally dug the first shovel in our modernization project today ... because we are one nation that can not be split apart".

"The groundbreaking ceremony is meaningful in that it demonstrates the Koreas' willingness to actively cooperate on the modernisation and connection project of their railways and roads", the South Korean transport ministry said in a statement carried by Yonhap news agency. A signboard that pointed to both the South's capital of Seoul and the North's Pyongyang was unveiled as well.

The ceremony closed with the North's brass band playing the song "We are One", and the divided relatives from the two sides got to talk to each other in front of a fireplace before all participants had lunch together at a restaurant in Kaesong.

Putin crows as he oversees Russian hypersonic weapons test
Officials in Washington were also anxious about the rise of maneuverable missiles that can strike their targets within seconds. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

The leaders of the two Koreas agreed in April to modernize and connect roads and railways across their border, a project aimed at fostering balanced development and co-prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim agreed to work toward denuclearisation at a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in June, but talks have since made little headway, with Pyongyang upset at Washington's insistence that sanctions remain until the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearisation.

They recently carried out an 18-day inspection of the railways in western and eastern North Korea after the United Nations granted a sanctions waiver.

For the Koreans who where present, the ceremony struck a sentimental note.

"We need to see the New Year's address by Kim Jong Un", Jung said.

"I can't put it into words".

Describing the trip as a dream, Kim said the train ride to her hometown had been a big hope of hers. "Visiting our homes by train is our last great hope".

Qiu Guoghong, China's Ambassador to South Korea, said he looked forward to taking a train from Seoul to Beijing via Pyongyang.

A nine-car special train carrying around 100 South Koreans, including officials and five people born in the North, was seen leaving Seoul railway station early in the morning for the North's border city of Kaesong.

"The Japanese government should deal with South Korea in stricter way", Itsunori Onodera, a former defense minister and current chairman of the LDP's research panel on security issues, said at the meeting.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Nancy Pelosi Endures Partial Government Shutdown at Luxury Resort in Hawaii
Dec 29, 2018 - 14:43
Sanders noted that the left used to care about border security, adding, its a sad day when the White House can't even get them to show up to work.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top State officials say 911 issues in Mass. 'have been corrected'
Dec 29, 2018 - 12:59
The statement provided no other details, including the cause of the problem and how many customers were affected. CenturyLink's Twitter account offered the latest update shortly around 9:45 a.m.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Justice 'Recuperating' After Cancer Surgery, Released From Hospital
Dec 28, 2018 - 19:16
As the oldest justice, Ginsburg is closely watched for any signs of deteriorating health. No further treatment is planned.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top CenturyLink outage that affected Arizona customers continues Friday
Dec 28, 2018 - 19:15
Some reports told of people unable to get gas as card readers shut down at some gas stations, and others of ATM's glitching. Some CenturyLink customers across the country were without the internet as outages stretched from NY to California.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Prince Charles' fears for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal baby
Dec 28, 2018 - 18:58
In the weeks following the announcement, Meghan was cradling her baby bump and showing off her growing belly in fitted outfits. Kensington Palace announced in October that Prince Harry and the duchess would welcome their first child in spring 2019.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Gerrard’s ‘not fit to wear the shirt’ blast lifts Rangers
Dec 28, 2018 - 18:12
The Gers have enjoyed a strong showing this season in the Scottish Premiership , but trail Celtic by three points. Gareth McAuley has a thigh problem, with Gerrard set to make a final decision on the quartet at the last minute.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top IPhone XR is Apple’s biggest lure for Android lovers
Dec 28, 2018 - 17:33
In November, this just-launched model made up 30 percent of Apple's USA sales, slightly higher than the iPhone X in Nov. 2017. Earlier this week, rumors suggested Apple and Foxconn are moving part of the production of 2019 iPhones from China to India.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Many killed as attackers hit Libya foreign ministry
Dec 27, 2018 - 14:02
It also condemned the attack on an Afghan government building in Kabul and Tuesday's auto bombing in Iraq's Tal Afar. The head of the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL) denounced the "cowardly terrorist attack" in a statement .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Lava, ash spew from Italy's Mount Etna
Dec 27, 2018 - 14:02
Flights were restricted to just four landings an hour at the nearby airport at Catania because of poor visibility. A local vulcanologist said it was Etna's "first flank eruption" in more than a decade.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Images reveals surfaced: Has Miley got married Cyrus secretly?
Dec 27, 2018 - 13:43
On Sunday, photos from what appeared to be a low-key, at home wedding reception surfaced on surfer Conrad Carr's Instagram story . Also in attendance is Cyrus's mum, Tish , who is seen sporting a casual black shirt-and-blue jeans outfit in the first picture.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth marry in secret Christmas celebration
Dec 27, 2018 - 12:58
Cyrus posted three black-and-white photos of her and Hemsworth on the singer's Instagram and Twitter accounts on Wednesday. In a second picture, they shared a smooch in what Cyrus called "probably our one - millionth kiss".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Residents flee brand new tower block as CRACKING sounds suggest imminent collapse
Dec 27, 2018 - 12:28
A resident told Nine News he heard a loud Bang, as if in the Interior of the building, something is broken. Police evacuated 55 children from a nearby childcare centre and released them to their families.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Chiefs miss out on D.J. Swearinger after Cardinals claim safety
Dec 27, 2018 - 11:53
He was promoted a week later, appearing in four games for a team that eventually reached the NFC Championship game. The team could have suspended him for the finale and tried to get anything for him during the offseason.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Nawaz sentenced to prison in Al-Azizia, acquitted in Flagship reference
Dec 25, 2018 - 18:20
The three-time former prime minister who appeared before the court for at least 78 times has denied any wrongdoing. However, it acquitted him in the Flagship Investments corruption case in the high-profile Panama Papers scandal.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Hodgson: Liverpool will slip-up in title race
Dec 25, 2018 - 16:27
Not that different, but slightly. "He still has that desire and the speed in the first few yards, which is impressive". The 18-year-old became the Saints youngest Premier League goalscorer. "So I was really happy with our attitude".