China opens bullet trains to DPRK border

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China has built two high-speed railways along the border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Fast trains can now reach Dandong on the Apnok River near the DPRK and Hunchun on the Duman River, the entrance to the DPRK's Rajin-Sonbong Special Economic Zone.

The high-speed rail linking Shenyang with Dandong in Liaoning Province was finished late last month and the line between Changchun and Hunchun in Jilin Province was opened on Sept 20.

The 207-km line between Shenyang and Dandong has shortened the travel time from three hours and 30 minutes to just an hour and 10 minutes. And the 360-km Changchun-Hunchun line passes through major cities in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. It is expected to appeal particularly to tourists because it passes by Mt. Baekdu.

It could also boost economic cooperation between China, the DPRK and Russia. Hunchun lies at the vertex of the three countries, linking the DPRK's Rajin-Songbong economic zone with Russia's Khasan.

China has long wanted an access route to the East Sea through the mouth of the Duman River. China's Jilin Province and the DPRK in June ceremonially launched container liners linking Hunchun, Rajin-Sonbong and Shanghai.

A source in Beijing said China mostly transports coal on the route through Rajin-Sonbong Port, which connects with six Chinese ports.

In cooperation with the DPRK and Russia, Jilin is building an international visa-free tourist zone in the Duman River delta.