Across the Tracks: North Korean Railcar Manufacturing and the 2018 Inter-Korean Agreement
The Center for Strategic and International Studies Korea Chair and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency partnership uses unclassified geospatial imagery and data to produce new, timely, and accurate reporting on the North Korean economy and society, infrastructure, and border activities. The first report created as part of the partnership looks at North Korean railway infrastructure at the Chongjin Railway Factory.
Connection and modernization of railways in the Korean peninsula’s eastern transportation corridor is a declared step within the historic April 27, 2018 joint declaration for peace, prosperity, and unification.
Chongjin Railway Factory is one of two major railway manufacturing facilities in North Korea’s eastern corridor. Analysis of this facility can be a brick-and-mortar sign-post of foundational infrastructure progress if the trust-building project of reconnecting the Koreas’ railways is carried out.
Railway manufacturing facilities have served as a necessary link in North Korea’s underdeveloped economy, presently offer new possibilities in inter-Korean relations, and will be foundational infrastructure for future unification. However, knowledge of North Korea’s infrastructure is lacking according to a pilot survey of regional experts conducted by CSIS Beyond Parallel. The following in-depth study of North Korea’s railcar manufacturing infrastructure seeks to begin to address that void.