The Korea Railroad Corporation (KORAIL) has taken the first step to connect Busan, Pyeongyang, Beijing, Moscow, Berlin, and London in a cross continental railway.
KORAIL announced on March 23 that it joined the Organization for Cooperation of Railway (OSJD) as an affiliate member on the 21st (local time) of March in Warsaw, Poland. The OSJD is an international organization related with the Eurasian continental railroad.
OSJD consists of 27 countries including central and eastern European countries and Russia, China, and North Korea, and joining it is a must to operate a continental railway that includes the the Trans-Siberian Railway and Trans-China Railroad.
KORAIL President Choi Yeon-hye signed a pact for OSJD operation after discussing it with executive members of OSDJ, including its Chairman Tadeusz Szozda, that day. The Chairman said, “A presidential-level annual regular meeting is scheduled on April 24 for four days in Pyeongyang, North Korea this year, and her presence is requested as KORAIL is an affiliate member now.” Choi responded as saying, “The attendance is to be decided after confirming necessary steps through talks with the government after returning to Korea.”
It is judged that a practical bridgehead has been established to fulfill the Silk Road Express, the nexus for constructing a Eurasian initiative to open the era of the Korean peninsula trust process and Northeastern Asia cooperation. Korea also secured its rights for data requests as well as its rights to attend all working group meetings on international regulations, transportation pacts, transshipments, profits, and cost distribution in regards to operating the continental railway.
On top of this, by building a cooperation network through communicating with other member countries, it also gives positive light to the prospect of the South Korean government obtaining a regular membership, which has been delayed due to North Korea’s opposition. According to the assessment, it is also extremely meaningful to have the right to speak for the country’s benefits, even though there still will be no voting rights at the presidential annual meetings.
KORAIL is all set for the era of the continental railway by joining OSJD as an affiliate. The move will lead to strengthening domestic products’ global competitiveness and saving hundreds of billions of won in distribution costs by shortening the transportation period to Europe from four weeks by ship to 15 days by rail.
KORAIL finished its field examination on the Rajin-Hasan project that will be the starting point of the continental railway connection, and will decide on its participation after a prudent discussion with the government to consider future benefits at the national level. The Rajin-Hasan project was discussed during a Russia-Korea summit meeting last November when Russian President Putin visited Korea. The project is to be run by a Korean company that will participate in projects in Rajin, North Korea, and Hasan, Russia, to connect the railroad to Europe using the Trans-Siberian Railway.