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North-South canal envisioned by Korea's president-elect

North-South canal envisioned by Korea's president-elect

Seoul: Lee Myung-Bak, who yesterday overwhelmingly won the national presidential election, plans a major revamp of Korea's inland waterways as one of the top undertakings of his tenure in office.
As mayor of Seoul from 2002 to 2006, Lee Myung Bak revived a long-buried stream to beautify and revamp the South Korean capital's downtown.
Now the former chief executive of Hyundai Engineering & Construction is keen to push ahead with his proposed ''Great Waterway'' which would eventually  connect rivers with new canals to create a cargo-transport route from the southern port of Busan to China's border, via Seoul and the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
In South Korea, Lee's waterway would link the northern Han and southern Nakdong rivers with a new 20-kilometer (12.4 miles) canal, creating a 2,100-kilometer route from Busan to Seoul. If North Korea fulfills its pledge to dismantle its nuclear-weapons program, Lee would extend it 1,000 kilometers, from the demilitarized zone's Panmunjom to Sinuiju, on China's border.
Lee says that at a $16.2 billion cost, the waterway would create tourist destinations and 700,000 jobs, develop rural areas and cut transport costs. Opponents call it an unfeasible and environmentally unwise waste of money.  [20/12/07]


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