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New Railway Line Linking North Korea to the Rest of the World set to Cost a Whopping $35 Billion!

Towards the end of April, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with South Korean president Moon Jae, resulting in a historic deal that is poised to end the Cold War-era division. The two countries stated that they will continue with the pursuit of signing a peace treaty.

This treaty will work toward the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. At the moment, it’s still unclear to what degree that North Korea plans to stop its nuke projects.

Calls for Peace

The negotiations, also known as the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, also has a blueprint that includes connecting North Korea to the rest of the world.

The new railway is poised to bolster peace within the Korean peninsula and act as a commitment by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to ensure complete denuclearization of the Peninsula

At the summit, Moon is reported to have handed the North Korean leader a USB drive that contains a detailed plan regarding the construction of a massive railway.

The main facets of the plan envision a modern railway line that would connect Seoul to Pyongyang in the North, then moving further on to the areas of Kaesong and Shinuijuin in North Korea.

 An expensive endeavor

The railway plan is estimated to cost around $35 billion, though it is believed to be much more expensive. Moreover, there will also be plans to add another high-speed line from Seoul to Shinuiju through Pyongyang, along with an addition of six more railways that will cross through North Korea.

As of the moment, the rails in North Korea are extremely dilapidated and break repeatedly especially when heavy loads are being carried. In fact, the current trains in North Korea can only manage a meager 30 miles per hour on average. Hence, modernizing the lines would result in double the speeds, proving advantageous for the North Korean state.

The railway line is estimated to cost $35 billion, though it is poised to be more expensive. Furthermore, the railway will connect North Korea to Europe, China, South Korea, and Russia for better international trade

That being said, the railway is poised to become a vital transportation megaproject. In fact, it will be a monumental geopolitical move that is directed towards convincing the North Korean regime to maintain its promise of peace.

Bolstering international trade

Hence, the railway could prove a lucrative venture increasing trade between the Korean Peninsula, Europe, and China.

Despite this, there are still worries that the North Korean leader might pull out of the negotiations for complete denuclearization at the last minute. However, South Korea is doing all it can to ensure that such an event does not take place

That’s because these railway lines would seamlessly connect the center of North Korea’s commerce, the Shinuiju-Dandong crossing, with China. Not only that, it would also connect Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railroad, with South Korea’s two mega-cities; that is Seoul as well as Busan).

The two mega-cities would then be connected to Chongjin, which is North Korea’s third largest city. Last but not least, the line would connect to Rajin, which is the country’s industrial zone, having the highest GDP per capita.

Hopes for a brighter future

Whether the railway line will be built though is still unknown. Initially, there was another inter-Korean railway plan that had existed in early 2000. In 2007, both the North and the South did a test run for the railways, with two trains passing the demilitarized zone.  Unfortunately, the broken relationship between the two countries prevented the line from being developed further.

If completed, the project will have the potential to build and foster both trade, transit, as well as peaceful political relations of the Korean Peninsula

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