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Koreas Reconnected By Rail - CBS News

Koreas Reconnected By Rail - CBS News

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Published by loutishoptimist03


North Korea's train arrives as South Koreans greet at the Jejin railway station in Goseong,


North Korea's train arrives as South Koreans greet at the Jejin railway station in Goseong,

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Published by: loutishoptimist03 on Jun 25, 2014
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Koreas Reconnected By Rail - CBS News
North Korea's train arrives as South Koreans greet at the Jejin railway station in Goseong, east of Seoul near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Korea Thursday, May 17, 2007. AP Photo/Jung Yeon-je, POOLThe divided Koreas sent trains lumbering through their heavily armed border for the first time inmore than half a century Thursday, reaching another symbolic milestone in a reconciliation processoften hindered by the North's nuclear weapons ambitions.Firecrackers and white balloons filled the skies near the border as a five-car train started rollingnorth on a restored track on the west side of the peninsula. On the eastern side, a North Koreantrain crossed into the South on another reconnected rail line where it was greeted by childrenbearing flowers.It was the first train crossing of the 2.5-mile-wide no man's land dividing the two sides since inter-Korean rail links were cut off early in the 1950-53 Korean War.The trial run was the latest symbol of a historic reconciliation that the longtime foes began pursuingwith the first-ever summit of their leaders in 2000. That summit has led to a series of exchangeprojects, including the opening of cross-border roads that thousands of South Koreans cross each year as tourists, or to work in special enclaves in the North.The detente has often stalled, mainly because of tensions over North Korea's nuclear programs.Thursday's one-time test run came after repeated delays since the rail lines were linked in 2003."It is not simply a test run. It means reconnecting the severed bloodline of our people. It means thatthe heart of the Korean peninsula is beating again," Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung said at aceremony at Munsan station, about 8 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone, before boarding thetrain.The two Koreas "should not be derailed from the track or hesitate" in their moves toward unification,North Korean Senior Cabinet Councilor Kwon Ho Ung said.However, Kwon also repeated the North's claims that outside powers -- usually a reference to theUnited States -- were the main obstacle to reconciliation between the Koreas."Even at this point, challenges are continuing from divisive forces at home and abroad who don't likereconciliation and unification of our people," Kwon said.South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun watched the event live on television, hailing it as a "result of building trust consistently with patience," his office said.
 
(AP Photo/Kyodo News)South Korean soldiers in camouflage uniforms opened the barbed wire-topped gates to the DMZ onthe western track to allow the South Korean train to pass through the zone that stretches across theentire 156-mile width of the peninsula.Not long after, the North Korean train arrived in the South with one railcar bearing a sign that read,"The car that great leader and comrade Kim Il Sung boarded in person on Aug. 9, 1968" -- referringto the North's late founder and father of current leader Kim Jong Il.The trains, each carrying 150 people from both sides, returned to their origin later Thursday.While the rail crossing symbolized reconciliation for some, it was a reminder of loss for others. A dozen South Koreans whose relatives allegedly have been abducted by North Korea staged a protestoutside the Munsan station, demanding Seoul do more to bring their loved ones home."I wish the train would come back with my son if he is still alive," said Lee Kan-shim, 72, burstinginto tears as police kept her from the site.One of the passengers on the South Korean train, Yang Hyun-wook, head of the Seoul office of theKorea Railway Corporation, said the journey would be emotional."I think it should have happened earlier, but I hope this will be an opportunity for South and NorthKorea to become one," Yang, 55, said before boarding. Yang Seok-hwan, 75, who was born just south of the border in an area where no civilians are nowallowed, thought he would be able to take the train when some community officials asked him toattend the ceremony."I'm disappointed. I thought I could take the train if I came here," he said. "My hometown is just overthere, but I haven't seen it for 50 years. I want to see my hometown again before I die."It remains unclear when regular train service between the two Koreas could start. North Korea'scommunist government is extremely reluctant to allow many foreign influences into the country as itseeks to maintain its grasp on power.The Korean War ended in a cease-fire that has never been replaced with a peace treaty -- leaving thetwo Koreas technically at war.The two Koreas resumed their rapprochement after North Korea agreed in February to take initialsteps to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs.Pyongyang failed to shut down its sole bomb-making reactor by a mid-April deadline under that

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