South Korea’s Eurasian Initiative

South Korea has been one of the countries that is most keen on joining the OBOR and Silk Road projects, and it has launched its own Eurasian Initiative. Initiated on 18 October 2013 by South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, South Korea’s Eurasian Initiative seeks to not only bolster South Korea’s connectivity with Russia, but also the opportunity to enhance South Korea’s trade and economic development (MOFAORK 2013; Korea.Net 2013; Lukyanov 2013). Currently, there are a variety of cross-border logistic projects under way that have strengthened South Korea-Russia ties. In September 2013, Russia and North Korea opened up the railway that connects Hassan and Raijin (Expert Online 2013b). The Rajin Port was designed as a coal terminal and will ship roughly 4 million tons of Russian coal per year (Expert Online 2013a). While the Hassan-Rajin railway is part of the larger Trans-Korean Railway, political tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang have caused the project to be placed on hold indefinitely, as South Korea declared it was dropping out of the project in March 2016. While the situation is unclear in the short term, it would be in the interests of South Korea to maintain interest in the Trans-Korean Railway, as it could emerge as an important corridor connecting the country to Europe. The project is in Russia’s interest as well, as it offers the opportunity to further expand and modernise the Trans-Siberian Railway by linking it with the Trans-Korean Railway. In this light, Russia has an opportunity to act as a mediator between North and South Korea, as reunification on the Korean peninsula represents a significant opportunity for Russia.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >