Friday, August 23, 2002

Railroads the route to post-Cold War diplomacy? From Wash.Post

President Vladimir Putin pressed North Korea on Friday to forge a new Asia-Europe freight route by extending Russia's trans-Siberian railway across the Korean peninsula to bypass China. Putin, speaking after almost four hours of talks with North Korea's reclusive Kim Jong-il, said the new link would help revitalize Russia's depressed and underpopulated far east. The encounter outside the city of Vladivostok comes at an important political juncture with communist North Korea and industrialized South Korea edging closer to each other after almost half a century of icy stand-off. Under Putin, Russia is actively courting Pyongyang after a cool period immediately after the Cold War. The United States, while bracketing North Korea part of an "axis of evil," is keen to reach a deal with Pyongyang to stop it developing nuclear weapons.

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