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A new international rail transport corridor linking Russia and China
A new international rail transport corridor linking Russia and China via North Korea could open in 2009, a regional issue of the popular Russian business daily Kommersant said on Wednesday.

The First Cargo Company, a subsidiary of Russia's rail monopoly RZD, and China's Yanbian Haihua Imports & Exports Trade Company recently signed the deal. North Korea is expected to join the agreement in May 2009.

The rail line is expected to link the Russian settlement of Khasan, the North Korean border town of Tumangang and China's Tumen.

"The Chinese side has already delivered fuel, a locomotive and variable gauge wheel sets, so that Russian rail carriages can travel along the narrower North Korean track," the newspaper said, citing a spokesman from the Russian company.

Around 50-60 rail carriages a day could currently use the rail link. However, China said it was ready to rebuild the 120-km (75-mile) North Korean section of the rail line to increase its cargo capacity tenfold, up to 500-700 rail carriages a day, as soon as North Korea joins the project.


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