New Yalu Bridge On the Way

[imText1]Shenyang, China — The New Yalu River Bridge, part of the package of commercial agreements signed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Kim Jong Il last week, is beginning to come to fruition.

On the 15th, Dandong Newspaper carried a quote from a Chinese government official, “Negotiations between the two parties are progressing well, and by next August construction will be able to start.”

A model of the New River Yalu Bridge appears in a mock-up aerial view of Dandong’s Xinchengqu district, which is on display in a local exhibition center.

According to this view, the New River Yalu Bridge will enter China between the new Dandong city hall and Guomenwan, both of which are located in the Xincheng district which the city government is planning to develop heavily in future. The New Yalu River Bridge will connect to Zhongxin road, which runs past Guomenwan.

Zhongxin road is itself located roughly 12km from downtown Dandong. The location at which the bridge connects to North Korea is approximately 12 to 13km from Sinuiju in the direction of Ryongcheon, the site of an infamous railway explosion in April of 2004.

The new bridge will therefore be approximately 13km upstream of the iron road and rail bridge known as the “North Korea-China Friendship Bridge,” which was built in 1943 and is currently the only crossing between Dandong and Shinuiju.

According to the aerial view, the bridge is of a suspension type.

This mock-up is currently on display at Dandong City’s Xinchengqu Gwomenwan Exhibition Center. When the late President Kim Dae Jung visited Dandong last year he paid a visit and took a look at the aerial view of Dandong, including the model bridge.

According to someone inside the construction company responsible for the bridge’s development, “The development of Xinchengqu has been on the drawing board for two years. This time, the construction of the New River Yalu Bridge was confirmed between China and North Korea. This is a very good chance for us, from now on Xinchengqu will become the center of China-North Korea trade.

According to Dandong’s urban development plan, the bridge will connect Busan-Seoul-Pyongyang-Dandong and Beijing in the future, implying that future trade and cooperation between a reunited Korea and China is being taken into account.

China is providing the construction costs for the New Yalu River Bridge; an estimated one billion Yuan (approximately $145 million).