The world’s longest railway spanning almost the entire length of Russia – the Trans-Siberian – could get an extension to North and South Korea.
A memorandum on the project was signed 10 years ago, but talks have been frozen after relations between the two Koreas deteriorated. The recent thaw has seen Seoul and Pyongyang more open to improving ties.
“Nobody canceled the project and we still consider it to be extremely important… Technically, we are fully ready to connect the Trans-Korean highway with the Trans-Siberian Railway,” a spokesman for the project, Gennady Bessonov, told RIA Novosti.
According to him, the whole problem lies in political relations between North and South Korea. “We have modernized the section from Hasan station in Russia to the North Korean port Rajin. Further connection is possible to Pyongyang and then to Seoul,” Bessonov said.
Russia’s only border with the Korean peninsula is with North Korea. Last month, South Korean top diplomat Kang Kyung-wha said Russia could build a natural gas pipeline to the country through the North’s territory. “Should the security situation on the Korean Peninsula improve, we will be able to review the pipeline natural gas (PNG) business involving the two Koreas and Russia,” she said then.
The Trans-Siberian Railway was built between 1891 and 1916 under the supervision of ministers personally appointed by Tsar Alexander III and later Tsar Nicholas II.
Spanning a record eight time zones, it connects hundreds of large and small cities of the European and Asian parts of Russia over 9,289km (5,700 miles), making it the world’s longest railway. Russia has pledged a $10 billion investment to significantly modernize the railroad’s infrastructure.