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KEI Spotlight

South Korea’s Train Woes Could Stall Inter-Korean Rail Project

December 13, 2018

In his latest column for the Diplomat Magazine, KEI Director Kyle Ferrier examines public discussions around the recent train derailment and their implications for Moon's policies towards North Korea. The accident, which occurred on a line that was opened less than a year ago in preparation for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February, has been preliminarily attributed to a switch malfunction caused by cold weather. But the statement from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation that KORAIL needs to do a better job with safety to win overseas projects, particularly the proposed inter-Korean rail, has prompted angry public responses. Now, the discussion is shifting to people questioning whether the government should be investing in inter-Korean rail connection when domestic trains are prone to accidents. This potentially thrusts a new challenge to the Moon government's engagement with North Korea. 

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