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North Korea Opt To Participate In Trans-Siberian Railway

North Korea Opt To Participate In Trans-Siberian Railway

Posted May. 21, 2001 08:44,   


``The reconstruction of Kyong-Ui Railway, which had been stopped by the North Korea, and the connection of the Trans-Korean Railway (TKR) and the Trans-Siberian Railway need to be decided by the political decision makers of the highest authorities of the related nations,`` Russian Minister of Railway Transport Nikolai Aksenenko remarked at an interview with Dong-a Ilbo on May 18. Mr. Aksenenko declared that Russia is undertaking a revolutionary reformation of railway system and therefore the Russian railway system will be dramatically reformed in a few years.

Questions and Answers are as following.

- North Korea recently discontinued its reconstruction of Kyong-Ui Railway. Do you expect the North will resume [the reconstruction]?

- As far as I know, North Korea temporarily stopped its reconstruction due to the political reasons including the South and North relationship. The resumption of the reconstruction is on the decision of North Korea’s National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-Il. Russian hopes the Kyong-Ui Railway to be reconstructed as soon as possible.

- North Korea did not reveal its position on the TKR and TSR connection project…

- North Korea is still passive on the project. However, the North`s participation is only a matter of time since the project will give economic benefits to North Korea. Russia is waiting for reasonable decision of the North.

- It is known that the Russian railway experts examined the railway situation of the North. What is your prospect for the modernization of the North Korean railway system?

- The North Korean railway system has truly lagged behind. However, once the decision for the modernization is made, it would not be difficult because the whole railway scale is not large. Estimated amount [for the reconstruction], even though I cannot give exact numbers here, will be less than the generally anticipated expenditure. And 6 months are good enough [to reconstruct the railway.]

- It has been indicated that TSR is not ready to be a pivotal center for physical distribution. How is the recent situation of TSR?

- The service quality and security has been significantly improved. Freight lost also has almost disappeared. Only one accident that resulted in the death of a passenger was reported last year. In addition, Russian government has increased the investment on the railway reformation.

- What are the major railway reformation projects recently having operated by the Russian government?

- The revolutionary railway reformation plan was approved by the cabinet on May 19. Competitive system will be introduced. Private transportation companies will take part in the freight transportation and newly established government-owned enterprise Russian Railway Co. Ltd. will operate beneficiary business. Russian railway will reconfigure in a few years.

- What do you expect on the project to connect Sakhalin and Hokkaido by bridges and tunnels?

- [The project is] still on the negotiation with Japan. When the conclusion is to be drawn by July, the project could be set off by this year. Potential investors are waiting.

- North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is expected to visit Russian this year. Is their any possibility that Mr. Kim is to visit Russia by railway?

- The transportation of Kim Jong-Il will be decided by higher authorities. Russian railway is well prepared to serve the guest of the state safe and swiftly.