Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Dream of Taking the Train from Seoul to London

Part of the tour I took of the DMZ included a stop at Dorasan Station. It is the closest train station to North Korea and is currently only being used to transport materials to the Kaesong industrial region which is located in North Korea. South Korean companies own factories in Kaesong that use North Korean labor. We were told that typically North Korean workers receive 1USD per month after taxes and government fees. However, in Kaesong that amount is doubled to 2USD. Taking North Korea's  recent currency reforms this gain really doesn't amount to much anymore.

What's fascinating about Dorasan Station besides the fact that it's this huge vacant building is that all of the tracks are in place for mass transportation to North Korea and beyond. Being there reminded me that the majority of South Koreans feel that without a doubt reunification is going to happen. South Korea is prepared too. In the station there were even metal detectors in place for passenger security screening. The government has spent a lot of money on this station that has minimal use. The current government is also talking about imposing an unification tax on the people of S. Korea so that the country is financial prepared when reunification happens. However, it's very controversial and nothing has been put into law yet.

I love the idea of taking the train from Seoul all the way to London. For now it is just a dream though the map at the Dorasan Station makes it seem more like a reality. 

There was a faux passport stamp counter at the station. Something that my co-worker Dustin pointed out was that the station has a high possibility of becoming outdated as the years pass by. I like the intention the government had with this station and I hope it's able to become a place of welcoming in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment