* Date : 2019-10-19
2,000 years ago the East and West exchanged civilization through the Silk Road. Now railroads are crossing that road! Arirang TV filmed a special documentary about the 21st Iron Silk Road, covering 13 cities in South Korea, China, and North Korea In episode 4 ‘Railroad, meeting the future’, we will look into how the Iron Silk Road will change our future. The final homework for the Iron Silk Road is connecting railroads between the two Koreas. After World War II, inter-Korean railroads were shut down in 1948. The Cold War era was over but the Korean Peninsula was still facing conflicts and tension. But positive changes are happening recently. North Korea sent a large number of athletes and cheerleaders to the 2018 Winter Olympics that was held in South Korea.
The peaceful atmosphere of the Winter Olympics led to the inter-Korean summit. The two leaders agreed to bring peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and started co-research regarding railroads in North Korea. Although North Korea’s railroads are currently obsolete, they can be modernized within a month. The condition is good for freight transportation. What would happen when the railroads are connected? We can predict the answer by looking into Harbin. Until the late 19th century, Harbin was a poor fishing village but went through rapid urbanization after the Chinese Eastern Railway was opened. And recently, it is once again ready to develop as international companies such as Volvo Cars are entering the region thanks to freight trains heading to Europe. Railroads are the economic growth engine for regions.
Incheon port is seeing a great increase in the number of logistics due to the combined transportation of shipping and railroad. Railroad transportation is faster than shipping and cheaper than air transport. Departing from Incheon port, the goods are delivered to Europe by railroads as soon as they arrive in Yingkou port. It is expected that Hunchun, Jilin will become the logistics hub when the inter-Korean railroads are connected. South Korea, North Korea, and China will all benefit as they will have access to new markets.
That is why President Moon proposed a railway community in East Asia. If countries make economic cooperation and seek co-prosperity through railroads, then peace will follow naturally. In other words, economy and peace are the key factors for the 21st century Iron Silk Road.