June 29, 2018 12:18
North and South Korean officials on Thursday agreed to repair highways in North Korea between the border city of Kaesong and the capital Pyongyang, South Korea's Goseong and North Korea's Wonsan to the east.
The agreement was reached in talks in the border truce village of Panmunjom.
The project cannot go ahead straight away since international sanctions stand in the way, so the two Koreas will first put together a team to conduct feasibility studies and conduct on-site surveys starting in August.
The Kaesong-Pyongyang highway stretches for 162 km and was opened in April of 1992. The two Koreas agreed at a 2007 summit to repair the road, but that never came to fruition.
Although highways connecting the two Koreas were severed during the 1950-53 Korean War, the two sides reconnected a 19 km stretch between the South Korean city of Munsan near the border with Kaesong, and if the remaining stretch is repaired it would lead straight to the North Korean capital.
The 107-km highway between Goseong and Wonsan was built in 1989 to promote tourism to North Korea's scenic Mt. Kumgang resort. Vice Transport Minister Kim Jeong-ryeol said the two sides agreed to repair it "considering its scenic beauty, environmental value and wealth of attractions."
A Unification Ministry official said the feasibility study will have to come first before the cost can be estimated.
The two highways bisect areas of North Korea that are the most likely to be developed if the North embraces change.
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