President Moon proposes new Silk Road by connecting South-North railways

2017.06.16 16:38:58

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday proposed to the fledgling China-led infrastructure bank to incorporate the Korean Peninsula in Beijing’s ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative dubbed as the new Silk Road through rail connection.

“The Gyeongui Line (between the two Koreas) remains idle, which is the reality of the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said in a speech at the opening ceremony of the annual Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) meeting at the International Convention Center in southern resort island of Jeju.

“The new Silk Road by sea and land won’t be complete unless the South and North are connected by railways…The peace in the Korean Peninsula is pivotal to regional stability and unity,” he said.

Moon who vows to uphold the engaging policies of the two liberal presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun who had summit talks with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Thursday invited North Korea for dialogue and vowed to revive the basic agreements made in the past if Pyongyang suspends its missile and nuclear weapons program.

His overtures comes as he is headed for his first summit talks with U.S. President Donald Trump who previously warned of preemptive strike against North Korea and after the U.S. administration delivered fresh unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang regime.

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South Korea can lend its industrialization expertise to act as a bridge between developing and developed economies, he said.

AIIB is a China-led multilateral development bank that was established last year to seek economic development by promoting infrastructure development in Asia and is instrumental in creating the new Silk Road connecting Asia with Europe by land and sea. It is the first time that the bank with 77 member states is holding its annual meeting outside China.

Moon said that he hopes AIIB to play a major role in connecting people and regions together and also in opening up a better future that goes beyond the present.

Demand for infrastructure investment in Asia’s developing countries is expected to reach $1.7 trillion annually over the next 20 years. South Korea is one of the bank’s 57 founding members. Membership request by North Korea was rejected.

By Kang Gye-man

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