South Korea joins railway group with North Korea’s approval

South Korea joins railway group with North Korea's approval

SEOUL, June 7 (UPI) — South Korea became a member of the Organization for Cooperation between Railways with an approval vote from North Korea, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Thursday.

The country joined the inter-governmental railway organization in the OSJD’s ministerial meeting, being held in Kirgizstan since Tuesday. The admission to the group was made successful following three failed attempts since 2015 due to North Korea’s rejections and abstentions from China, according to the ministry. New membership requires an unanimous vote from the 28 member countries, including North Korea and China.

“South Korea gains the same benefit of signing some key agreements operated under the OSJD for the use of the Eurasian railway link,” said the statement from the ministry. “We expect larger benefits from the membership along with the improvement in the North-South relations and further economic cooperation.”

The OSJD was founded in 1957 to facilitate cooperation in freight and passenger traffic in the Eurasian region. Its member countries include major countries in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, including Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, China and North Korea. Some of the major railways under the cooperation include Trans-China Railway, Trans-Siberian Railway and Trans-Mongolia Railway.