Russian and South Korean officials arrive in North Korea for trilateral development talks

Photo: Reuters/Yuri Maltsev
Photo: Reuters/Yuri Maltsev

Today, Russian and South Korean delegations will travel to the North Korean city of Rajin for a seminar about a transport project connecting Rajin with Khasan, just beyond the Russian border.

The rail connection between Khasan and Rajin, was rebuilt between 2008 and 2014. The ultimate goal was a Trans-Korean railway to connect the peninsula with Russia and Europe, but South Korea bowed out of the project in 2016 in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear tests.

With thawing tensions this year, including a historic April 27 meeting between President Moon Jae-in and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, the major Khasan-Rajin transport project could resume. The opening of a Trans-Korean railway would ease both the transport of Russian coal to the Koreas and South Korean technology goods to Europe, providing benefits for all parties.

North Korea, one of the world’s poorest nations, stands to benefit greatly from the economic stimulation of the infrastructure project. More importantly, this trilateral cooperation could cause North Korea to further open its economy, perhaps reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex—a joint venture with South Korea that once yielded $2 billion in trade for the North.

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