South and North Korean officials announced yesterday that they had reached an agreement to open cross-border roads and make test runs on two railways across their heavily fortified frontier in coming months. \nUnder the accord, which followed a four-day meeting of economic officials in the North Korean capital, the two sides will open two roads, one across the western part of the inter-Korean border and the other in the east. \nThey will also test-run two railways running alongside the roads, a media pool report from Pyongyang said. \n"The South and North ... shall test run on the linked sections of the railways in October 2004," said a joint statement. \n"In addition, the two sides will open the Seoul-Sinuiju road and the Eastern road no later than in October," it said. \nThe two sides also agreed to set up by the end of June a joint agency to run an industrial park being built in North Korea's Kaesong city near the border and appoint a South Korean to oversee it. \nThe sprawling park, mainly housing hundreds of South Korean garment and other labor-intensive plants, will be connected to the western cross-border transport links. \nElectricity for the complex will come from the South after the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. completes building powerlines by late September. \nProduction at the complex will start by the end of this year, the agreement said. \nSouth and North Korean officials at the meeting also said they needed to speed up work on a demonstration complex in the park to ensure that South Korean firms move in and begin production, officials from Seoul said. \nFifteen firms out of 136 applicants seeking to operate in the Kaesong complex have been selected, including watch maker Romanson. \n"The South, out of brotherly love and the principle of mutual help, will provide the North with a loan of 400,000 tonnes of rice," the agreement said. \nThe breakthrough is expected to expand cooperation and contribute to stability on the peninsula, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said. \nThe accord at the Pyongyang economic talks followed a breakthrough Friday in separate military talks in a South Korean resort where the two sides agreed to ease tension along the world's last Cold War frontier. \nGeneral-level officers of the Koreas agreed to set up a hotline and to avoid accidental armed clashes in the disputed western sea border.
Over a few hours under gray skies, dozens of combat planes and helicopters roar on and off the flight deck of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, in a demonstration of US military power in some of the world’s most hotly contested waters. MH-60 Seahawk helicopters and F/A-18 Hornet jets bearing pilot call signs such as “Fozzie Bear,” “Pig Sweat” and “Bongoo” emit deafening screams as they land in the drizzle on the Nimitz, which is leading a carrier strike group that entered the South China Sea two weeks ago. US Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney, who is commanding the group, said the tour
Sitting in a lotus position, four men weave glittering beads through gold thread on an organza sheet, carefully constructing a wedding dress that would soon wow crowds at Paris Fashion Week. For once, the French couturier behind the design, Julien Fournie, is determined to put these craftsmen in the spotlight. His new collection, which showed in Paris on Tuesday, was entirely made with fabrics from Mumbai. He said that a sort of “design imperialism” means that French fashion houses often play down that their fabrics are made outside France. “The houses which don’t admit it are perhaps afraid of losing their clientele,” Fournie
A court in Thailand sentenced a 27-year-old political activist to 28 years in prison on Thursday for posting messages on Facebook that it said defamed the country’s monarchy, while two young women charged with the same offense continued a hunger strike after being hospitalized. The court in the northern province of Chiang Rai found that Mongkhon Thirakot contravened the lese majeste law in 14 of 27 posts for which he was arrested in August last year. The law covers the king, queen and heirs, and any regent. The lese majeste law carries a prison term of three to 15 years per incident for
INSTABILITY: The country has seen a 33 percent increase in land that cultivates poppies since the military took over the government in 2021, a UN report said The production of opium in Myanmar has flourished since the military’s seizure of power, with the cultivation of poppies up by one-third in the past year, as eradication efforts have dropped and the faltering economy has led more people toward the drug trade, a UN report released yesterday showed. Last year, the first full growing season since the military wrested control of the country from the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021, saw a 33 percent increase in Myanmar’s cultivation area to 40,100 hectares, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime report said. “Economic, security and governance disruptions