Koreas launch rail, road project that will be delayed by sanctions

North Korea and South Korea on Wednesday initiated a new project to improve railroads and railways in North Korea and connect them with South Korea, according to media reports.

The two nations can't begin actual construction, however, as sanctions led by the U.S. are still in place against North Korea preventing that from happening.

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The countries announced in October that they planned to reconnect their railroads and railways and held a ceremony on Wednesday to mark the launch of the project.

But the materials needed to begin construction for the project are banned under the sanctions imposed because of North Korea's nuclear program, according to Reuters.

“There’s a lot of things to do before we actually start construction,” South Korean Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee said before the ceremony, Reuters reported.

Kim Hyun-mee added at the beginning of the ceremony that the railways would "not only reduce time and space but also the distance between the hearts of the South and North," The Associated Press reported.

Eugene Lee, the spokeswoman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry, told the AP that the two countries would hold "detailed negotiations" about how to go forward with the project. 

“We plan to hold detailed negotiations with the North to coordinate on the specific levels we want to achieve in the modernization of railways and roads and how to carry out the project,” Lee said.