Following the historic meeting between North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in late April South Korea is reportedly considering a plan to build a massive railway connecting North Korea to China and Russia in order to facilitate trade and strengthen geopolitical ties with North Korea’s neighbours.
The railway, costing an estimated $35 billion, would allow North Korea to ultimately become a crucial connector between East Asia and Europe, resulting in an economic boost for the country.
The proposed Pyongra Line would connect South Korea’s two largest cities (Seoul and Busan) to North Korea’s third largest city (Chongjin) and its industrial zone with the highest GDP per capita (Rajin). A plan that boosts the economic power of these cities could have a powerful effect on reducing the influence of the dictatorial decision-makers in Pyongyang.
Since the inter-Korean summit meeting, many South Koreans have begun to label Mr Kim as a rather “trustworthy” reformer, according to recent surveys. A number of South Korean analysts argue that Mr Kim is planning to pursue economic growth while maintaining one-party rule.
A stable inter-Korean railway may also motivate Japan to finally begin working on the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel, a project that has been under discussion since the 1980s. If built, it will be the longest undersea tunnel in the world, more than four times the length of the Channel Tunnel between France and the United Kingdom.