Driving That Train High On Cocaine


 By Jason Strother

You’d have to be freebasing to think that this week’s test run of a rail link through the DMZ will bring both Koreas back together. This was a project dreamed up by the DPRK-appeasement regime of former South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and followed through by current head of state Roh Moo Hyun. The two links were severed during the Korean War and were doing a fine job of oxidizing for fifty years. But in 2000, KDJ and Kim Jong il decided to re-open the connections as a symbol of their commitment to reconciliation. The South dumped millions of dollars into the project only to be met with delays and cancellations by NK. But Roh greased the wheels just a little more when he offered the North an addition $80 million in industrial development to make the May 17th trial run happen. You would think that trains will soon be pulling into Pyongyang station if you listened to Seoul’s Unification Minister Lee Jae Jung "It is not simply a trial run. It is a very important incident in national history as it means reconnecting the severed bloodline of the peninsula. " His North Korean counterpart Kwon Ho-ung used the occasion to take a jab at the US, stating that outside forces are keeping the two Koreas divided. Despite all the optimism, the DPRK only agreed to one test run. This is because the North’s generals voiced "security concerns", which also led to the cancellation of the trial crossing last year. This is something that Dr Whang Ji Hwan at the Institute of Unification Studies at Seoul national Univ. said during an interview with Asia Calling, may indicate a rift between the North’s bureaucrats and the military who fear losing their influence if the two Koreas move closer together. The fact is, the inter-Korean railway is a long way off from becoming a permanent fixture on the peninsula. It would take billions of dollars and who knows how many years to rebuild the North’s colonial era infrastructure. Not to mention, KJI isn’t likely to let all these trains carrying rich South Korean passengers and Samsung flat panel televisions to cross through his backyard while trying to keep his people convinced they live in a worker’s paradise. And except for the North Koreans who earn slave wages at the Kaesong joint industrial complex, very few northerners would even have the opportunity to board these shiny new trains. Watch your speed Casey Jones, that next stop ain’t Pyongyang. —