A high-speed rail connecting China with South Korea could be a reality by 2030, according to the Korean newspaper Daily Economic Report, which recently announced a proposal to roll out a high-speed rail system that would run through North Korea to link up Beijing and Seoul.
The proposal for the line, dubbed the “Beijing-Seoul Daily Life Cycle”, consists of two stages. The first would be to build up a high-speed rail connection based on the existing railway infrastructure from Busan to Seoul that would take off from the South Korean capital and wind through the North Korean cities of Pyongyang and Sinuiju.
The second stage would be to connect the Korean railway with China’s existing high-speed network to Beijing, starting from China’s Yalu River.
China will be building a high-speed railway line from Shenyang to Dandong, and is planning to connect Shenyang with Beijing by 2019.
The report said that the high-speed railway line would be funded by South Korean companies and that the line from Busan to Beijing could be completed by 2030 if construction begins straightaway. Other reports say the line could be opened by as soon as 2020. When it’s completed, the 1,700 km journey from Beijing to Seoul would take six hours, it said.
A South Korean expert specializing in railway technology research said North Korea is the only place that hasn’t been connected by rail, but China and Russia have shown ‘much interest’ in the ambitious project.
The Seoul-Sinuiju railway connection is estimated to cost around eight trillion Korean Won ($7.18 billion), while the total cost of the entire project is expected to be a hefty 20 trillion Korean Won ($17.8 billion).