South Korea said its joint coal transportation project with Russia and North Korea can boost the so-called “Eurasia Initiative”, designed to strengthen economic ties between Seoul and Europe, Yonhap news agency reported Monday.
The Khasan-Rajin project aims to bring Russian coal to the Asia-Pacific region via the North Korean port of Rajin.
“It [the Khasan-Rajin project] is meaningful … to lay the foundation for realizing the Eurasia Initiative, peace in Northeast Asia and the renovation of our economy,” the Unification Ministry spokesperson Lim Byeong-cheol said at a press briefing, as quoted by Yonhap.
Lim added that the government of South Korea will provide full support for the project in order to achieve the goals of the “Eurasia Initiative” proposed by South Korea President Park Geun-hye last year. The project presupposes establishing a “Silk Road Express» that would connect rail and road networks from the South Korean city of Busan to Europe, as well as establishing new sea routes through the Arctic Sea.
In April 2008, Russia’s state railways operator RZD and North Korea’s port of Rajin established the RasonKonTrans joint venture, with 70 percent of the company belonging to Russia and 30 percent — to North Korea.
On Saturday, in a test run, 40,500 tons of Russian coal was delivered to South Korea by rail from the Russian town of Khasan via the North Korean port of Rajin. According to the Business Korea magazine, the delivered coal, including transportation costs, totaled approximately $4 million.