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Title [Break News] The Korea-Japan Undersea Tunnel is a dream project ‘The key to peaceful reunification of North and South Korea’
Date 2017-07-13 Hit 669
File 20170705101428_847.jpg [87kb]

[Break News]

The Korea-Japan Undersea Tunnel is a dream project ‘The key to peaceful reunification of North and South Korea’

Solving North Korean Nuclear and Missile Problems

The Future of Asian Countries

On July 7, President Jae-In Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a summit meeting for the first time in Germany on the occasion of the G20 summit. Prime Minister Abe called for early demolition of the statue of peace in front of the Embassy of Japan in Korea, and is urging for a solid implementation from the Comfort Women Korea-Japan agreement.

Just as President Moon Jae-In expressed his willingness to exercise wisdom in the US-Korea summit talks, he also made a surprising proposal in his talks at the meeting with Abe. Including the North Korean nuclear and missile issues, Dokdo, comfort women and history distortion problems, he suggests during the meeting that the “Korea-Japan undersea tunnel be drilled.”

For the young generation, the future leaders, he said, “Let us propose to drill through the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel. Our Korean Peninsula is a region where maritime forces and continental forces collide. At present, the naval forces in the United States and Japan, as well as the continental powers of China and Russia, are raising tensions on the North Korean nuclear issues. In order to eliminate the conflict of these forces, we have to communicate.”

Recently, China is facing unstable situation in East Asia, due to its rapid economic growth and strengthening military capabilities, while confronting US global strategy. As France and Germany settled the history of war through reconciliation efforts and became the protagonist of European community construction. In the same way, if Korea and Japan build a close cooperative system through historical reconciliation and the undersea tunnel construction, a new era of Korean and Japan centering on interdependence and mutual prosperity will begin.

The distance of the Strait of Dover between England and France is 34km. An undersea tunnel was constructed from Calais, France to Folkston, England. It was commissioned in September, 1987, and completed in May, 1994, on a budget of 16 billion dollars. The tunnel runs daily at a speed of 130km per hour, with 600 trains per day, contributing significantly to the economy between the two countries as well as the European economy.

For the common prosperity of South Korea and North Korea, as well as the four great nations, the exchange of human and material resources should greatly expand. Now we need to improve our relationship with North Korea so that trains to unification can continue to run. As the trans-continental railway becomes active, the link between China's Trans-China Railways (TCR) and Russia's Trans-Siberia Railways (TSR) will play a major role in our economy. Therefore, the North-South railway operation will make the railroad more effective by recognizing the value of the railway as a means of transportation to the people.

In the meantime, South Korea has been unable to advance into the continent due to the blockage of the North-South Korean railways. However, on May 17, 2007, the North-South railway, which had been cut down for 57 years, was connected. The Gyeongui Line and Kyungwon Line were also restored and opened. With the opening of the North-South railway, a new “Iron Silk Road” from Busan to Europe was born. The 5.17 North-South railway trial operation, which has made it difficult to achieve, should not end with a one-time event. It should be used for the commencement of the North-South railway and for commuting to the Kaesong Industrial Complex, transportation of goods and transportation to travel to Kumgang Mountain. After the modernization of the North Korean railway, it should be developed in conjunction with the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel.


In order for our Korean peninsula to become a center of distribution in Northeast Asia, it is essential to construct an undersea tunnel with Japan. In addition, Japan has adopted a policy of Pan-Asianism in the sense that it is an island nation, even though it is an Asian country. It is necessary to connect Japan to the Asian continent by drilling the undersea tunnel just like the connection between England to the continent of Europe.

In the case of the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel, the distance between Busan and Tsushima is 50km, and the distance between Tsushima and the mainland is 121km, so the area we will be in charge of will be half the distance between Busan and Tsushima, which is 25km. The cost of constructing the UK-France undersea tunnel was said to have costed 320 million dollars per kilometer.

The Korea-Japan undersea tunnel and the continental railway linkage project will be formed by an international consortium consisting of the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the EU. With the North-South railway connection, South Korea and North Korea will benefit from distribution clearance costs alone. The combination of South Korean technology and capital and North Korean labor will create enormous synergy. The Korea-Japan undersea tunnel planning alone will activate the railroad connection projects between the two Koreas, and lead the way toward reform and openness with the North.

The Korea-Japan undersea tunnel is a gift for future generations. As we pass through North Korea through the connection between the Gando, the Maritime Provinces, the Manchurian Plain and Mongolia, the horizons of our descendants’ thoughts can grow infinitely. Take the Iron Silk Road and go through to Japan-Busan-Seoul-Kaesong-Pyongyang and into China, Moscow and eventually, Paris.

The first idea behind the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel was attended by 720 scholars from each field, including Nobel Prize winners, at the 10th International Conference on the Unity of Science (ICUS) held in Seoul in November, 1981. It began with the announcement of the concept of the “International Highway and Korea-Japan Tunnel Initiative.” It presented a basic idea to build supplementary tunnels, such as railroads, automobile roads, wires and oil lines.

The Korea-Japan undersea tunnel is a large-scale construction project that starts from Busan-Tsushima-Iki Island-Kyushu, connecting through to railways and expressways. In April, 1982, the International Highway Construction Project team was established in Japan, and in May, 1983, the “Korea-Japan Tunnel Research Team” was established centering on Yasuo Sasa, an honorary professor from Hokkaido University in Japan. In 2000, during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) the Japanese government made an official proposal for the construction of the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel, where Japanese Prime Minister Moriyoshi also attended. Also in 2003, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) also selected the construction of the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel as one of the three major projects to accomplish within 100 years.

In Korea, the President's interest in the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel was high. Since May, 1990, President Roh Tae-Woo first mentioned the necessity of an undersea tunnel, Kim Dae-Jung (September 1999), Roh Moo-Hyun (February 2003) and President Lee Myung-Bak also expressed a positive opinion about the undersea tunnel. In 2003, the Roh Moo-Hyun and Lee Myung-Bak administrations conducted a research on the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel; however, there were negative conclusions from the economic point of view that have prevented the project from carrying forward.

However, a negative evaluation of the economic feasibility of the Korea-Japan undersea tunnels was made, not considering the ripple effect on the construction industry and other industries, but merely a result of calculating only the costs and benefits of the undersea tunnel itself. The cost-benefit analysis based on passenger and cargo volume based on time and cost savings shows low economic efficiency, but it is reasonable, considering the ripple effects, such as job creation and construction market boosts.

In order to resolve North Korean nuclear and missile issues and to reduce conflicts and realize peace, “paths” are needed to communicate with each other. To begin the work of penetrating the “path of the heart” to make the whole world one, we must start with an undersea tunnel connecting Korea and Japan, which are ironically the closest, but the farthest countries.

The psychological sense of distance between the two Koreas, which are supposed to pass through the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel, seems farther than the distance of the Korean Straits. Recently, the relationship strains between the two countries, such as the Dokdo dispute and the comfort women travesty, have worsened, and the historical conflicts between Korea and Japan have become more tense. The feeling of emotions between the two Korean countries is undoubtedly a stumbling block. Now both Korea and Japan must clear up the past sediment. The Korea-Japan undersea tunnel has a great effect on improving the relations between North and South Korea. North Korea's openness and economic cooperation should also be closely discussed.

If dialogue, exchange and cooperation between North and South Korea become frequent, political cooperation will be achieved among the four great nations, resulting in stability in the Korean peninsula, as well as peace in Asia and throughout the world. The Korea-Japan undersea tunnel is a dream project, the key to peace and reunification of the two Koreas, as well as the beginning of the Association of Asian Nations.

There is only one big decision left by President Moon Jae-In. At the G20 Summit, President Moon Jae-In addressed a surprising speech on the North Korean nuclear and missile crises, the South Korean THAAD dispute, North Korea and one nation unified with two systems and building a DMZ World Peace Park and CCZ World Peace City, as well as proposals to solve all problems with the Korea-Japan undersea tunnel. Let our Korean people exercise the Nobel Peace Prize movement..... [See the original story]

*Author / Chung Ho Sun. Former Professor at Gyeongbuk National University, member of the 15th National Assembly, Advisory Council Policy Advisor, Chairman of the Korea Nobel Foundation, columnist.

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