China looks for closer DPRK ties with a new Tumen River bridge

( KBS )

There is a new bridge in the northeastern Chinese city of Hunchun, Jilin province taking shape across the Tumen River, which separates China from the DPRK, set to open May next year, and all bets are on it to increase trade between the two countries a great deal, according to the ROK’s Korean Broadcasting System, on Nov 8.

The 800-meters bridge will connect Hunchun with Rajin and is said to be costing 1.37 billion yuan. It is expected to speed up the transportation of goods through an area that now handles a large amount of trade between the two countries.

The KBS went on to speculate on China’s reasons for paying for the new bridge, by saying, “China sees a competitive relationship with Russia in the Rajin-Songbong region where it is also doing some investment.”

Hunchun is in an envious geographical location thanks to its clear view of a railway bridge connecting Russia and the DPRK across the Tumen River, and its own close access. Another ROK news outlet, in a recent report on Hamgyong province, DPRK, to the north of Tumen River, hinted that Russian petrol is taking a larger market share in the area than China’s so DPRK is beginning to look to Russia for its oil products.

The Russian Ministry for the Development of the Far East, which coordinates development in the region, has said that they plan to put $25 billion into DPRK’s infrastructure, including railways, tunnels and bridges, over a 20-year period and to take out coal and nonferrous metals as reimbursement.

The new Chinese bridge will replace a much older one, built back in 1938, which is a tourist attraction, Hunchun locals said.

Written by Wang Zhen and edited by Roger Bradshaw