The first international seminar of the East Asia Railway Community Initiative took place in Seoul on Sep. 4. Hosted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of South Korea, the seminar covered detailed plans and road maps of the initiative.
Last year, South Korean President Moon Jae-in proposed the initiative in his speech commemorating the 73rd National Liberation Day. The initiative is an international cooperation scheme of the United States, South Korea, North Korea, China, Russia, Mongolia and Japan and its purpose is to pursue peace and co-prosperity based on infrastructure investment and economic cooperation in East Asia. At present, the ministry, the Korea Rail Network Authority and the Korea Development Institute are conducting related research activities via their expert research group.
“Railway-based promotion of international exchange is expected to give rise to a new economic and energy community in Northeast Asia and a better multilateral peace and security regime,” the ministry said at the seminar, adding, “Then, peace and co-prosperity in Northeast Asia will be boosted as well as passenger and freight transportation and economic, political, cultural and security cooperation in the Eurasia-Pacific region.”
“The initiative will be the very foundation of permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia,” the Korea Rail Network Authority mentioned, continuing, “The members of the initiative represent approximately 40 percent of the total GDP of the world and about 27 percent of the total population of the world, which means the initiative’s economic growth potential is huge indeed.”
The seminar was attended by a number of high-ranking government officials, including Russia’s Deputy Minister of Transport Vladimir Tokarev, Mongolia’s Minister of Road and Transport Development B.Enkh-Amgalan, and Kim Kyung-wook, South Korea’s Second Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
“The initiative includes both Seoul and Pyongyang and, as such, it can be a solution to political and diplomatic problems that have lasted long,” the Russian deputy minister remarked, adding, “Russia welcomes every effort of South Korea and will spare no efforts to create a cooperative railway ecosystem in the framework of the initiative.”