Thae Yong-ho, the former No. 2 man in the North Korean Embassy in London, sounded a warning in a recent memoir against plans now under discussion between the two Koreas to upgrade railway lines across the border.
In his book, Thae wrote, “Linking the South and North by railway will be difficult because it involves costs to relocate defensive military installations along the North Korean coast. It’s a pointless discussion.”
The two Koreas discussed reconnecting the railways during the first inter-Korean summit in 2000 but the project was eventually scrapped for that reason.
“The North Korean military believes the Incheon Landing was the reason the tides of the Korean War turned against it and spent decades setting up massive defensive fortifications along the East Coast railway line,” Thae said.
“If construction begins aimed at modernizing the railways, the coastal defense positions must be rebuilt,” he added.
“Due to the limitations of the North Korean system, which is beyond remedy, it has become evident that the construction of a railway crossing the Korean Peninsula is impossible.