Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A South Korean railroad survey team safely arrived in the North Korean city of Sinuiju at the China border, Seoul's unification ministry said Tuesday.
The team, who left the South last week on the Gyeongui line divided between North and South Korea, was incommunicado on Monday, Yonhap reported.
By Tuesday the South Korean government had received word the team had reached Sinuiju, the city that directly faces the Chinese city of Dandong.
The survey is taking place in the area, and the mission is carrying on "as planned," Seoul said.
"The North relayed this afternoon from the joint liaison office in Kaesong the whereabouts of the joint Gyeongui Line survey team," the unification ministry said. "The joint survey team is currently in Sinuiju, and the survey is taking place as planned."
North Korea reportedly told the South the team would arrive in Pyongyang by Wednesday. After lunch, the team would be taken to the inter-Korea border near Kaesong.
It is believed the South Korean team of 28 railroad inspectors, after leaving last Friday, has so far surveyed 250 miles of train tracks between Kaesong and Sinuiju.
The cash-strapped North has invited the South Korean team at a time when analysts in Seoul say the cost of railroad repairs is estimated to be about $9 billion.
South Korean taxpayers are expected to cover the cost of repairs.
Joo Seong-ha, a journalist from North Korea who defected to the South in 2002, said Tuesday in the Donga Ilbo the heavily rusted North Korean railroad has remained untouched because of politics.
After senior railroad officials dismantled and illicitly sold train parts to China at a profit during the famine of the '90s, North Korea preserved the old technology, including the tracks, to preserve the legacy of founder Kim Il Sung, Joo writes.
The bureaucratic red tape that has stalled railroad renewal is an obstacle the South will face going forward, according to the analyst.
A change in perception in the North Korean leadership must come first, Joo says.