Executive Intelligence Review


Moon’s ‘New Economic Map of the Korean Peninsula’: Integrating with the Belt and Road

May 8, 2018 (EIRNS)—An article appearing in the May 7 South China Morning Post details what it states is the content of the economic proposals contained in a thumb drive which South Korean President Moon Jae-in gave to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un when they met on April 27. The SCMP article is headlined “Seoul Offers Kim Jong-un Grand Bargain To Link North and South Korean Economies with China,” and it reports that South Korea’s proposal to Kim for a “New Economic Map of the Korean Peninsula” was based on a July 6, 2017 speech that Moon gave in Berlin, in which he proposed “three economic belts between the two countries.” The article also notes that this proposal is fully consistent with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The SCMP article elaborated that Moon’s Berlin

“initiative included three economic belts—one connecting the west coast of the peninsula to China, making the region a center of logistics; one connecting the east coast to Russia for energy cooperation; and one on the current border to promote tourism.”

An article in Sputnik, which reports extensively on the SCMP coverage, reported that Moon’s proposal calls for

“connecting and upgrading rail and road systems [which] will ensure that the entire Korean Peninsula becomes more seamlessly linked with China and Russia.”

The SCMP article quotes Park Byeong Seud, a member of Moon’s ruling Democratic Party of Korea, explaining: “The new economic map includes railway links between the two Koreas and China’s northeast stretching all the way to Europe.” The article says further that

“one part of the plan would involve the construction of a rail link starting in Mokpo on the southwest tip of the peninsula, passing through Seoul and Pyongyang and the North’s Special Administrative Region of Sinuiju, before reaching Beijing. Beijing is likely to welcome Seoul’s proposal as it accords with the core Chinese national interest of enhancing sustainable economic development and boosting the country’s northeastern rust belt.”

Another Chinese expert, Cheng Xiaohe, a deputy director at the center for international strategic studies at Renmin University, said that Beijing could “incorporate the plan into its Belt and Road Initiative.” Similarly, Lu Chao, a research fellow at Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, agreed that

“The plan would have a huge impact on China’s northeastern region, as it would transform the region as a center of logistics in East Asia, which could function as a driving force for the rapid economic growth of the region.”