Korea ponders tunnels to Japan, China
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak has authorized feasibility studies on two massive underwater tunnel projects that would link his nation with Japan and China, according to reports from Korean news outlets over weekend.
The tunnel to Japan, long discussed over the past century, would be somewhat analogous to the tunnel connecting the United Kingdom and continental Europe across the English Channel. It would connect the southern tip of the Korean peninsula to Kyushu in Japan, covering 80 miles across the Korean Strait.
A second proposed tunnel would connect Korea to Shandong Province in China, though that project would be even more ambitious at 230 miles.
The cost of the Korea-Japan tunnel is estimated at $83 billion.
Either of the projects could potentially have an effect on ocean-going trade between the three nations. South Korea's ports depend on transshipment of goods to and from Japan and northeastern China, but there is also heavy trade between the three countries. Rail or road access via a tunnel could conceivably help grow those volumes.