North, South Korean Officials Celebrate Joint Railway Project
North and South Korea have held a ceremony to mark the beginning of a project to improve North Korea's railways and connect them with the South.
Each side sent representatives to the ceremony, in the border town of Kaesong.
Last month, the two Koreas carried out a joint inspection of parts of the North's railway system, which they hope to connect someday with the South. The goal is to link the countries' railroads and thereby increase economic ties.
The move is one of several efforts agreed to by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in.
Progress linked to nuclear talks
Any progress on the project, however, will require changes to United States-led economic actions against North Korea. They are designed to punish the North Korean government for its nuclear activities.
The railway inspection had been delayed for months because of concerns about United Nations sanctions on the North. The U.N. Security Council gave the two Koreas special permission for the study.
North Korea has voiced displeasure with the slow progress on projects aimed at building ties between the two sides. South Korea hopes to carry out additional inspections before further details of the project are released. Work depends on progress in nuclear talks with the North.
The United States and its allies have called for restrictions to remain in place until North Korea takes clear steps toward giving up its nuclear weapons and missiles.
For the ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday, a South Korean train traveled to Kaesong. It was carrying about 100 people, including government officials and lawmakers. Members of families displaced by the Korean War in the early 1950s also were on the train.
South Korea's unification ministry reported that officials from the United Nations, China, Russia and Mongolia joined the North Korean delegation.
After the event, North and South Korea agreed to carry out additional railway inspections. Both Koreas said they would work closely with the United States and the U.N. to gain support for the project and deal with concerns over sanctions.
Lee Eugene, a spokeswoman for the unification ministry, spoke with reporters. "We plan to hold detailed negotiations with the North to coordinate the specific levels we want to achieve in the modernization of railways and roads and how to carry out the project," she said.
However, experts say investment in the project could take time even with steps toward nuclear weapons removal and easing of restrictions.
Jung Dae-jin is a professor with the Ajou Institute of Unification in South Korea. He noted that the project would increase exchanges between the two governments.
But he said the future of Moon's plans for connecting the railways rests with North Korea.
"We need to see the New Year's address by Kim Jong Un," Jung said. He added that the global community needs to see measures taken by the North toward removing nuclear weapons for progress on railways to go forward.
I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.
1.carried out 实施
Forensic experts carried out a painstaking search of the debris.
2.nuclear weapons 核武器
He campaigned for peace and against the spread of nuclear weapons.
3.go forward 前进
They had to look backward to go forward.
4.aimed at 针对；目的在于
The government rushed through legislation aimed at Mafia leaders.
5.Work depends on progress in nuclear talks with the North.
depends on 取决于
The success or failure of the matter depends on your own effort.
The personal allowance depends on your age and marital status.
6.Both Koreas said they would work closely with the United States and the U.N. to gain support for the project and deal with concerns over sanctions.
deal with 处理；应付
He's a hard man to deal with.
You'll deal with it personally?
然而该项目的任何进展都需要改变美国主导的对朝鲜的经济制裁 。这些制裁旨在惩罚朝鲜政府的核活动 。
由于担心联合国对朝鲜的制裁，铁路考察已经被推迟了数月 。联合国安理会特别许可朝韩两国进行这项考察 。
朝鲜对旨在建立两国关系的项目进展缓慢表示不满 。韩国希望在进一步细节公布之前进行更多的考察，而这取决于与朝鲜核谈判的进展 。
在周三的奠基仪式上，一辆韩国列车开往开城，车上载有乘客约100人，包括政府官员和议员 。20世纪50年代初朝鲜战争的离散家属也在这列火车上 。
仪式结束后，朝韩双方同意进行进一步铁路考察 。朝韩双方表示，将与美国及联合国密切合作，争取他们对该项目的支持，并解决对制裁的后顾之忧 。
韩国统一部发言人李有振（Lee Eugene）向记者进行了说明 。她表示：“韩方将与朝方就实现铁路现代化程度、路线和工程方式等具体内容进行磋商 。”
Jung Dae-jin是韩国亚洲统一研究所的教授 。他指出，该项目将增强两国政府的交流 。
他说：“我们还需要观望金正恩的新年致辞 。”他补充说，国际社会需要看到朝鲜采取废除核武器的措施，才会推动该铁路项目取得进展 。