The 34th general directors conference of the Organization for Cooperation between Railways (OSJD) was held in Seoul on April 11.
The OSJD is an international organization created for the operation of international railways between Europe and Asia. South Korea joined the organization as a regular member last year thanks to eased tensions between South and North Korea.
The Seoul conference was attended by presidents of rail firms from 20 member nations, including Russia, China and Poland. North Korea, a regular member of the group, did not attend it.
The participants agreed that the connection of inter-Korean and continental railways will contribute to peace and prosperity in Europe and Asia.
"We acknowledge that the issue of an inter-Korean railway connection is sensitive to international political situations. But it is a matter of time and the connection is strongly needed," said Son Byeong-seok, president of KORAIL, in a press conference after the meeting.
"We have a great interest in connecting North and South Korean railways," said OSJD Chairman Tadeus Shozda. "It takes 40 days to transport goods to Europe by sea from Korea, Japan and Vietnam, but it will take 14 to 16 days by train when North and South Korean railways are linked. Korean products such as those of Samsung and LG are quite popular in Europe. If European consumers can receive them in 14 to 16 days instead of 40 to 45 days, it will become a big issue."
"If North and South Korean railways are connected, it will lead to Chinese railways, going beyond the Korean peninsula," Shozda continued. "China is building a new railway as part of its ‘One Belt, One Road’ policies and newly organized 6,500 freight train services last year."