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[Focus] Will the Siberian Railway be connected?

Posted February. 06, 2001 11:50,   


The Silk Road of Iron project is drawing attention, as Korea and Russia have agreed to form a joint railway committee for the connection with the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR).

If the 9,208-kilometer TSR is connected, it is expected to promote Korean-European trade by saving distribution costs. Also, North Korea and Russia are expecting income from transportation through the railway.

For this reason, high-ranking officials of the Russian railway authority, who visited Korea last November, expressed their strong interest in establishing the joint railway committee.

The government found that it wouldn't be that difficult to link the South-North railway with the TSR, and the reconstruction of the Kyungeui Line is now under way.

The rail gauge of the TSR is 1,520 millimeters and that of Korea is 1,435 mm. However, there is Khasan between North Korea's Rajin and Russia's Nakhodka, and the Russian station could serve as a transit point for transshipment of cargoes, so the difference in railway gauge won¡¯t be a problem.

The most important factor in the railway-linking project with between Korea and Russia is the attitude of North Korea. It is because North Korea showed a rather inactive attitude due to security reasons when Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed the railway project.

The government wants the Kyungeui Line to be linked with the TSR in Central Siberia through China and Irkutsk, so there exists a difference in the view between Korea and Russia.

"The cargo volume and economic effect from reconnection of the railway haven't been calculated, " an official of the Ministry of Construction and Transportation said. "But it would mark a dramatic turning point if the TSR were linked to the South-North Korean railway."

Koo Ja-Ryong bonhong@donga.com