June 08, 2018 10:54
South Korea became a full member of the Organization for Cooperation between Railways on Thursday, enabling it to run trains on the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Trans-China Railway.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said the 46th OSJD Ministers Conference in Kyrgyzstan unanimously accepted Korea as a full member.
The OSJD was established in 1956 as a cargo transportation agreement among 12 countries including Russia, China and North Korea. It now has 28 full members.
"By becoming a full member, Korea signs all agreements with OSJD member states that are needed for the use of the Eurasian railways," the ministry said.
Seoul had been trying to join the OSJD since 2015 but was thwarted by opposition from North Korea. Instead, South Korean officials since attended the conference as observers.
But this time North Korean Minister of Railways Jang Hyok supported South Korea's accession, saying, "Relations between the two Koreas have improved since the inter-Korean summit on April 27." Chinese and Russian delegates also spoke in favor.
But for the moment membership is symbolic since new tracks will have to be laid across North Korea and other parts of the line if South Korean trains are to run on them.
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