Congratulatory Speech at the international symposium marking the 23rd
anniversary of the establishment of the Korea Railroad Research
Institute (March 14)
I would like to sincerely congratulate you on holding the
international symposium marking the 23rd anniversary of the
establishment of the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI). The
KRRI, since its founding in 1996, has brought the people great
convenience and contributed to local economies and national
development through ongoing development of technology.
The KRRI now strives to realize a greater vision and organized the
symposium about “Innovation of railroad transport and establishment of
a cooperative network to realize the railroad community in East Asia.”
I would like to express my deep gratitude to KRRI President Na
Hee-seung and all staff members involved in organizing this meaningful event.
Connecting railroads between South and North Korea has been our
longtime dream. It is essential to connect railroads between the two
Koreas to expand the ROK’s economic landscape into the Eurasian
continent. Logistics is an “economic blood vessel,” and the expansion
of logistics through railroads will greatly increase our companies’
export competitiveness. Once the railroad community is established in
East Asia, all involved countries as well as the two Koreas will
benefit from cooperation. Railroads were once a symbol of invasion and
exploitation but will instead become a catalyst of peace by
integrating Northeast Asia and Eurasia as one under a vision of
cooperation and prosperity.
Our longtime dream began to become reality last year. The leaders of
South and North Korea agreed to connect and modernize the Gyeongui and
Donghae railway lines at the Panmunjeom Declaration. Accordingly, the
two Koreas consulted each other and conducted the railroad study in
the North at the end of last year. The two Koreas together surveyed
the 1,200km railroads from the Amnok River (Yalu River) to the Duman
River (Tumen River) for 17 days. Researchers at the KRRI participated
as investigators and played a big role.
The government will proceed with the necessary procedures in a calm
and orderly way while working closely with North Korea and the
international community. I ask the KRRI to take the lead in the
process of connecting South and North Korea as one by railroad. I hope
that the symposium imparts momentum for exploration of specific ways
to realize development in inter-Korean railroad cooperation in the future.