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S. Korea will push ahead with cross-border projects to prepare for post-coronavirus era

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korea will do what it can on its own in preparations to move railway reconnection and other joint projects with North Korea forward after the coronavirus pandemic is over, a unification ministry official said Tuesday.

"With hopes that the North will respond, we will prepare for inter-Korean relations in the post-coronavirus age starting with the ones we can afford to do, such as the rail construction project along the east coast and the cultural heritage research project in the Demilitarized Zone," the official said.

As part of efforts to push for inter-Korean relations, Seoul earlier said it will conduct a research project to inscribe the DMZ as a UNESCO World Heritage Site jointly with North Korea.

It also announced a rail construction project along the east coast in the South so as to ultimately connect it across the border to a rail line in the North in accordance with an agreement reached at a summit of their leaders in 2018.

The North, however, has not responded to South Korea's repeated offers for cross-border cooperation since a no-deal summit with the United States in February last year. Pyongyang has also complained about Seoul dragging its feet in seeking major cooperation for fear of violating US-led global sanctions.

On Tuesday, several North Korean propaganda outlets including Uriminzokkiri carried reports blaming South Korea for chilled inter-Korean relations.

"It is unusual for several propaganda outlets to report at the same time, but we do not attach any special significance to their criticism of South Korea," the official said. "The announcement will have to come from an official outlet not a propaganda outlet for us to attach meaning." (Yonhap)
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