Divided Koreas to re-establish severed rail link

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SEOUL, Nov 22 (Reuters) Cargo trains will cross the heavily fortified border dividing North and South Korea every day from next month, restoring a link severed for more than half a century, South Korea's Unification Ministry said today.

Seoul has been pushing to re-open the rail link cut by the 1950-1953 Korean War so it could shuttle goods to an industrial park it operates just inside the North where its manufacturing companies have access to cheap labour and land.

Daily runs along a route of about 20 km will start on December.

11, the ministry said in a statement.

It follows an agreement last month between the two Koreas at only the second summit of their leaders.

South Korea had restored tracks across the land-mine strewn border but had struggled to win app roval from the isolated North, nervous of any contact with the outside world, in order to resume a train service.

North Korea earlier this year allowed a symbolic but only one-off crossing of trains.

South Korea's next goal is to run its freight and passenger trains through North Korea and into China and Russia and onto Europe.

REUTERS SZ RK0856

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