June 26 (UPI) — South Korean officials defended railroad cooperation with North Korea following an agreement to conduct a joint study on modernizing train transportation.
Officials including Seoul’s chief delegate Kim Jeong-ryeol said Tuesday the project with the North is not in violation of sanctions, local news service Oh My News reported.
“We do not consider [the North-South agreement] really violates sanctions,” the delegation said at a briefing after reaching the agreement.
Kim said most of the agreement focuses on preparations for “checks and inspections” until “circumstances mature,” according to the report.
The officials said the two sides did not discuss financing or costs.
“After a detailed investigation and the future direction of the project is determined, we can bring up the issue of costs,” Kim said.
The joint study will investigate different railroads that are in dire need of repair in North Korea, according to Yonhap.
Teams will investigate the “northern section” of a potential railroad connecting the South Korean capital of Seoul to North Korea’s Sinuiju, in addition to the Mount Kumgang-Tumen River line in the east and a Kaesong-Sinuiju line in the West.
Railroad cooperation has been promoted in Seoul since April 27, when President Moon Jae-in met with Kim Jong Un and agreed to civic exchange and partnerships while ending military tensions.
But North Korea has yet to issue a timetable for denuclearization, and Washington has not pressed Pyongyang on the matter.
“I am not going to put a timeline on it, whether that’s two months, six months, we are committed to moving forward in an expeditious moment to see if we can achieve what both leaders set out to do,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday on CNN.