Trans Korean Rail Back on the Agenda -- from "Pusan to Europe via Russia"

Russia opened its first rail connection to North Korea last month, the first since 2003, connecting Khasan in Russia's southeastern corner and North Korea's rebuilt port of Rajin, Bloomberg reports today. They also report that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Korean President Park Geun-Hye, in their bilateral meeting at the G-20 in Moscow last month, discussed the reopening of discussions with North Korea to rebuild the trans-Korean rail connections to the Siberian Railway. Bloomberg reports: "Park publicly affirmed her commitment to reunifying the Trans-Korean when she met with officials in Busan, South Korea's largest port, in July. Putin plans to make his third state visit to Seoul for talks with Park in mid-November."

"{Chosun Ilbo} reported Oct. 1 that, according to the President's website, Park told Putin: 'I have personally dreamed of a railway that starts at Busan and reaches Europe via Russia. It is an important agenda item for the new government to strengthen Eurasia cooperation.'"

Bloomberg also reports that the "Far East Land Bridge, a Russian Railways venture, opened a new service between Suzhou in eastern China and Warsaw on Sept. 30. The first shipment, of 'electronic and technology items,' will make the 7,600-kilometer journey in 14 days, linking with the Trans-Siberian via Mongolia and reaching Poland through Belarus, the Vienna-based company said in a statement Oct. 7."

Also mentioned is the route between Hamburg and Zhengzhou in north-central China that takes as little as 15 days and travels through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Poland. This route saw "51 shipping containers of goods from China arrived in Hamburg by train Aug. 2," and the "11,000-kilometer service between Chongqing in southwest China and the German transport hub of Duisburg via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Poland [which began] in 2011."

Developing Asia-Pacific transport links through the Korean Peninsula requires establishing relations between South and North Korea, something that can only be achieved through "Peace Through Development" policies, with huge benefits flowing to both North and South Korea from a Trans-Eurasian rail link.

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