Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Sign of Hope May 20th 2007

First North Korean cargo ship arrives in South Korea in half century

From International Herald Tribune:

A North Korean cargo ship arrived in South Korean waters for the first time in more than 50 years Sunday, just days after a historic test run of trains between the divided states.

The 1,850-ton Kang Song Ho, manned by a crew of 27, anchored near the southeastern port of Busan early in the day for inspections by South Korean maritime authorities, said Kim Na-young, a coast guard official.

Kim said the ship — the first North Korean cargo vessel to arrive in South Korea for commercial business since the 1950-53 Korean War — would dock at Busan port on Monday.

The vessel will "carry cargoes between Busan and the North's northeastern port of Rajin three times a month," said Lee Won-jae, an official for Kukbo Express Co., a South Korean agent for the North Korean cargo ship.

The ship was expected to depart Busan as early as Monday after loading 60 empty containers, said Lee.

Officials handling the issue at South Korea's Unification Ministry were not immediately available for comment.

North and South Korea are still technically at war because the cease-fire that ended fighting in 1953 has never been replaced with a peace treaty. But their relations have warmed significantly since the first and only summit between their leaders in 2000.

On Thursday, the two sides ran trains through their heavily armed border for the first time in more than half a century. It was the first rail crossing of the 4-kilometer-wide (2.5-mile-wide) Demilitarized Zone, which divides the two sides, since transport links were cut off early in the war.


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