|Attached File 1||Congratulatory Remarks by Minister_190503.hwp Document Preview|
Honorable Chairman Tadeusz Szozda
of the Organization for Cooperation between Railways (OSJD),
Distinguished Delegates and Honored Guests,
It is my great pleasure to be with you today.
I am Kim Hyun-mee, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Feeling privileged that
the ROK hosts the 34th Conference of General Directors of OSJD,
I would like to extend my warmest welcome
to all of you who have come to Seoul for this special occasion.
On the land of Seoul where we stand today
Koreas first railroad was constructed in 1899.
Since the rail line connecting Seoul and Incheon
began its first operation 120 years ago,
the ROK railways have made great strides.
The railroad track that spanned only 34km at the outset
has so far extended to the total length of 4,900km
across the country.
Furthermore, high-speed railway that runs at around 300km/h
helps people travel nationwide within a half-day.
Used by an average of 10mn passengers per day,
railways are serving as the main arteries of the nations
transport and logistics systems.
Despite such phenomenal achievements, however,
the Korean railway network has not been
able to stretch into the world stage.
There were days when Seoul Station was seamlessly
connected to the continent, unlike today,
working as an international station and a hub in Northeast Asia.
In 1907, Emperor Gojong delegated Mr. Yi Jun
as a secret emissary to attend the Hague Peace Conference
and protest about the unfairness of the Eulsa Protectorate Treaty
which had been forced upon Korea by Japan two years earlier.
With the solemn mission,
Mr. Yi got on a train at Seoul Station and
it took him two months to arrive at The Hague, the Netherlands.
Back then, railways were linked as a whole
through to the Eurasian Continent until the division of the Korean Peninsula left the southern half as a de facto island.
Against this backdrop, the ROKs accession to the OSJD
as an official member in 2018 seems very meaningful
in that this laid the firm groundwork
for the reconnection of the nations railways to the world.
Taking this occasion,
I would once again like to express my deep gratitude
to the delegations of member states for the unanimous support extended to our full membership in the organization.
In addition to this,
Korea marked another important milestone, last year,
in the railroad history.
Through three rounds of inter-Korean summits,
leaders agreed to begin work on reconnecting railways and roads between the south and the north and
promised to work together to bring peace and co-prosperity
to the Korean Peninsula.
Furthermore, President Moon Jae-in proposed
the creation of an East Asian Railroad Community
for a future of peace and shared prosperity in the region.
Subsequently, South and North Korea conducted
a joint study of the rail lines in the north and
held the ground-breaking ceremony for a project
on inter-Korean railway linkage and modernization.
In 2019, a basic plan is scheduled to be fleshed out
on how to implement the project down the road.
When a seamless rail line becomes a reality between the south and the north, Korean railways that have been regarded
as the epitome of division for a long time
will emerge as a new symbol of peace and harmony.
Going forward, a reunited railway network between the peninsula and the continent will lead us all into a prosperous future.
I look forward to the success of the inter-Korean railway project
and yearn for a day when a train starting from Korea
freely travels back and forth between the member states.
The OSJDs contribution to the development of Eurasian railways
over the past 60 years has been outstanding.
Along with all other member states,
the ROK, through railways, hopes to lay the firm foundation
for economic growth and move forward to the era of peace.
With my congratulations for this conference once again,
I wish you all fruitful deliberations and productive outcome
for the advancement of Eurasian railways.