Beyond the Eurasian continentChina proposed a Eurasian cooperative development model with the One Road, One Belt plan, which supports infrastructure improvement in neighboring countries to build a China-centered transport network. Russia shows a strong will to establish a Eurasian economic bloc and is reinforcing transportation as well as economic ties with members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Through the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia, Europe is building a complex logistics network across Europe and Asia. The United States wants to participate in emerging markets through assisting transport, energy and security infrastructure in Central Asia, including Afghanistan, through the New Silk Road strategy.
As a trade power, Korea needs to respond to the global trend and participate in the Eurasian logistics network. Being at the easternmost corner of the Eurasian continent, Korea marks the beginning and end of the network and a major gateway to the Pacific Ocean, and how we utilize the geographical advantage will determine the next century.
The Korean government presented the Eurasian Initiative, promoting integration and cooperation in the Eurasian region in 2013 and proposed the Silk Road Express (SRX) connecting Europe and Asia. It is a plan to safely and promptly deliver cargo from Busan to Russia, China, Mongolia, Central Asia and Western Europe. As a transportation expert and Korean citizen, the project is certainly overwhelming. But there are many challenges ahead.
For the integration of Eurasia, we need to have railways, roads and air routes connected between South and North Korea, and the Trans-Korea Railway is the key to completion of the SRX. In addition to linking South and North Korean transportation infrastructure, cooperation and partnership with related nations are necessary for the SRX.
To discuss the Eurasia Initiative and to establish partnership in integrated transport logistics, the Asia-Europe Meeting symposium proposed at the ASEM summit is to be held in Seoul in September. Under the theme “Seamless Eurasia: Making Connections,” ministers from Europe and Asia will discuss infrastructure development and international cooperation for the Silk Road of the future. We await the day when Korea leads international transport and logistics and the train from Imjingak runs through the Eurasian continent.
by Kim Young-chan, President of the Korean Society of Transportation