Intervention of M. Jacques Marion

Toward an Undersea Tunnel connecting Japan and Korea: Lessons from the Eurotunnel and the Marmaray Tunnel

Respected Panelists, dear Participants,

I sincerely thank you for your insightful presentations. The Japan – Korea tunnel is an idea whose time has come, and the knowledge you shared with us today is much appreciated.

In closing, I will briefly talk about the vision behind this project, which is one of the core objectives of the Universal Peace Federation. 

As mentioned by Mr Kajikuri, our Founders Dr and Mrs Moon introduced this project 40 years ago, in 1981, during the 10th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences in Seoul, South Korea. 

The Japan-Korea tunnel is meant to be the first link of a Great International Highway that would run through China to the West and Russia to the North, helping to create a prosperous East Asian Economic Zone. It would then reach out to Western Europe on one hand, and to the USA and Canada on the other hand, by means of an undersea tunnel at the Bering Strait. 

This Highway system would foster mutual prosperity, not only between East and West, but also between North and South, by going down to Africa on one side and South America on the other side. So, our Founders describe it as an International Highway for Peace connecting the world from the Cape of Good Hope to Santiago de Chili, and from London to New York. They envision it as a modern day, global Silk Road that would foster economic development, cultural exchange, and the reduction of regional inequalities. 

The Eurotunnel and Marmaray tunnels which we discussed today would be key links on this worldwide highway system.

But there are two specific challenges in this grand project that underscore the name “Highway for Peace”. One is the tunnel between Japan and Korea; the second the tunnel connecting Russia and the United States at the Bering Strait. In both cases, the project implies overcoming decades of hostility inherited from 20th century conflicts between these nations. 

Yet, again, this is an idea whose time has come, and already on the discussion table of politicians. 

It is significant that recently, the new Mayor of Busan, the second largest city in Korea at the southern tip of the Peninsula, declared that he was supportive of the Japan-Korea tunnel project - undoubtedly for many of the reasons mentioned by Professor Nishikawa.

Studies have also shown the economic benefits for the world of a transport link at the Bering Strait.

According to Dr Razbegin, the leading researcher on this project for many years at Russia’s Transport Ministry, the Intercontinental Link at the Bering Strait would significantly shorten the freight transport time between Asia and America, thus highly benefiting trade among the great economic powers of the Region.

Russia is accelerating the development of its transport infrastructure in Siberia and its Far East Region. Since 2007, Russia included in its transport development plan till 2030, the extension of its railroad system up to the shores of the Bering Strait. 

A key obstacle to this project is of course the current division of the Korean Peninsula. Without an open border between North and South, the Japan Korea tunnel loses a lot of its significance.

A Trans-Korean railway project between North and South Korea came shortly to life in 2007, but was stopped in 2008. We can only hope that North Korea’s pressing need for economic development, which is a new focus of the regime, will be an incentive to resume cooperation. 

The purpose of this international leadership conference is to garner the support of experts to discuss conditions for a peaceful solution to the division of the Peninsula. The information you shared on this webinar greatly contributed to this discussion, and I sincerely thank you for this. 

The Japan Korea tunnel and the International Highway for Peace are founding projects for UPF, as they embody our core principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values.  So, I sincerely wish to experience one day, even in my old age, traveling by car or train between Korea and Japan. 

As a Frenchman, I can guarantee that having London at two hours from Paris by express train is an unbeatable way of traveling, and it is a privilege that, I am sure, no one on both sides of the Channel will ever want to lose! 

Thank you very much.

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