Should inter-Korean cooperation result in the re-joining of North and South Korea's railways, it could connect the peninsula through China and Russia to a rail network that spans Eurasia. However, such connections will require a long and costly modernization process to fully integrate the systems in a commercially viable way, complicating the future of these potentially transformative links.
Reconnecting Asia tracks infrastructure developments across Eurasia, a vast landmass that includes 60 percent of the global economy. Every day, new infrastructure projects are announced, some are advanced, and others encounter obstacles. Here is a selection of projects and trends we will be watching in 2019.
North and South Korea are pushing railway cooperation as an engine for advancing inter-Korean relations. Railway connections could integrate the peninsula into a network that spans the continent, marking a significant diplomatic and geopolitical accomplishment. However, significant obstacles still remain.
South and North Korea will launch a field study on Friday to relink railways cut since the 1950-53 Korean conflict, after the U.N. Security Council granted sanctions exemptions last week, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
South Korea has received sanctions exemption from the United Nations Security Council for a joint survey of inter-Korean railways, the first step towards reconnecting rail and road links of the two Koreas since the 1950-53 Korean War.
On September 18, 2018, the Reconnecting Asia Project and the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) hosted “Looking North: Korea in a Reconnecting Asia,” a half-day conference that explored Korea’s ambitious plans for connectivity.
Due to highly anticipated infrastructure development and manufacturing potential in North Korea, South Korean banks are rushing to hire experts on North Korea.
North and South Korea have agreed to improve two roads in the North, the Route Donghae on the east coast and the Route Gyeongeui in the western interior, paving the way to deepen economic cooperation between the two countries.
Warming ties between North and South Korea have raised hopes for investment in North Korean and inter-Korean railways. South Korea has begun tentative preparations for the construction and modernization of railway connections along the North Korean Coast, paving the way for future economic cooperation between the two Koreas.