With the possibility that the linking of railways and roads between North and South Korea were discussed during a high-level inter-Korean meeting on June 1, there are reports that the North Korean authorities are taking efforts to reforest the areas around railroads in the country.
“A lot of people were mobilized recently following an order from the government to ‘reforest the areas around railways,’” said a North Hamgyong Province-based source on May 31. “In Chongjin, people are being forced to plant two-meter high trees 10 meters apart from each other. They are finding it very difficult work to do.”
A source in South Hamgyong Province added that each workplace and inminban (neighborhood watch-like units) have their own quotas to fulfill. “In Hamhung, people are being told to plant young trees along the railway, even in areas where farming is being done,” she said.
This flurry of activity seems to be connected to the possibility that railways could be connected between the two Koreas if the inter-Korean relationship improves.
According to South Korea’s Unification Ministry, the high-level meeting held at the Peace House in Panmunjom on June 1 was attended by Kim Jong Ryul, the second vice-minister for South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and Kim Yoonhyuk, the vice-minister for North Korea’s Railways Ministry.
Some observers suggest that the North Korean regime expected an exchange of opinions with South Korea during the talks on the linkage of railways and roads on the Korean Peninsula’s eastern coast and measures to modernize the transportation systems. North Korea may be looking to “spruce up” its railways before allowing South Korean officials to inspect them.....