Thursday, May 17, 2007

For the first time in 56 years, two passenger trains crossed the border between North Korea and South Korea. Before today, no trains made the trip between the north and the south since the Korean War divided the once-unified Korea.

Riding on rails built by South Korea several years ago, the train traveled from Munsan in the south to Kaesong in the north. The train was granted access to the demilitarized zone since 1951, the heavily guarded border between North and South Korea. Meanwhile, from the north a train traveled from Kumgang to Jejin. Each train carried 150 specially invited passengers.

“Today the heart of the Korean peninsula will start beating again,” South Korean Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung said.

Although largely symbolic, the rail connection is seen as an important step in thawing relations. To date, North Korea has approved only this one trial run of the trains.