Two Koreas, Russia Launch Tripartite Cooperation

December 2, 2014

The first major hurdle to setting up a functioning consortium between Russia, South Korea, and North Korea--and thus the first step to an actual peace on the Korean Peninsula--was overcome this past weekend. Some 40,500 tons of Russian coal was shipped by rail from Russia to the North Korean port of Rajin (both the 54 km rail line and the port were recently reconstructed by Russia), where it was shipped by sea (on a Hyundai Marine ship) to the South Korean port of Pohang, for use in a POSCO (a South Korean steel company) steel mill.

South Korea's Unification Ministry today described the program, as the "starting point" for economic cooperation among the two Koreas and Russia, according to the Korean Herald. "It is meaningful as a project to lay the foundation for realizing the [President Park Geun-hye's] Eurasia Initiative, peace in Northeast Asia and the renovation of our economy," ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol said at a press briefing.

The pilot project was launched by President Park and Vladimir Putin at their summit in November 2013. A consortium of South Korean companies--Hyundai Marine, POSCO, and KORAIL (the state rail company)--plans to purchase half of Russia's 70% stake in the Russia-North Korea venture to build the rail-port facility, and potentially much more. North Korea owns the other 30%.