[imText1]Recently, it is drawing more attention that the Rajin Port-50 Years Joint Development Project that China acquired from North Korea was launched in earnest.
The Joint Development Project includes remodeling a quay, No.3, and building 3 quays, No. 4, 5, 6 of Rajin Port. In 1974 when Rajin Port was opened, it consisted of only 3 quays, No.1, 2, 3. In December 1991, after the Rajin-Seunbong cities were declared as ‘Free Trade Economic Regions’, Rajin Port was planned to be expanded according to a 3-stage development scheme. Of the stages, the first construction was establishing the infrastructures such as railroads, roads, and ports, yet for 10 years the budget for it has not been enough.
In 1996, ‘Committee for Promoting NK Foreign Economic Cooperation’ published ‘Reality and Outlook for Rajin-Sunbong Free Trade Economic Regions.’ According to that, the purpose was that Rajin Port is first specialized as a port with a capacity for large-sized containers, then from 2000 when the first stage is done, its loading-handling capacity is improved from 300 milion tons to 1,700 milion tons, and finally from 2010, when the second is finished, it becomes the best port dealing with a hundred million tons.
Now, What is Going on in Rajin Port?
It is known that the Rajin Port has 4 quays. No.1, 2, 3, and No. 4 is under construction. Its loading-handling capacity is 300 milion tons per year, and cargo-handling gears are 17 cranes which are in the 5-15 ton class.
The port would be extended to be up to 2515 m, which would let 5 ships in the 5,000 ton-class and 8 ships in the 10,000 ton-class come alongside the quays. The gross area is 38,000 m², cargo-storing area is 203,000 m², storage area is 26,000 m² and warehouse area is 177,000 m².
The total length of the lead-in railroad from Rajin station to Rajin Port is 16 km. A broad gauge in the middle of it is 11,7 km, which is capable of dealing with principal cargos such as coal, fertilizers, cement, scrap irons, and material lumbers. Railroads and roads linking the Rajin Port are relatively good. The railroads are the East Sea line, the Pyongyang-la line (Pyongyang-Rajin), and the HamBuk line (Chongjin-Rajin) which link Pyongyang with Tumen River. Rajin Port covers the basic national roads which not only link Chongjin and Pyongyang with Russia, but also with Kyongwon national roads.
In the gates of Rajin Bay, breakwaters which were built to connect the 2 islands, Daechoso and Sochoso, play a role in preventing damages from tidal waves and storms. Rajin bay is characterized as having little sunshine, and many misty days, and its annual precipitation is 794 mm.
Mr. Gun, who defected to South Korea in 2003 from Rajin city of North Korea, revealed that “Rajin Port is so big that even a ship called ‘Samjiyunho’ could come into it. After beginning a market economy, North Korea began to construct the new port.” The Samjiyunho is a passenger ship made in the Netherlands that is 129 m in total length, 19 m in width, and 16.5 knots as its maximum speed.
A Long-Desired Project of China, A Key Base for Advancement into Pacific Countries
It is predicted that China will use Rajin Port as an ocean lane linking Sokcho and Busan of South Korea and Zarubino and Posiet of Russia as well as Japan.
China has been trying to find a key base to export overseas material lumber and foods produced in the Eastern areas of China for a long time. Not being alongside the Pacific, China has wasted a great deal of time and great shipping charges by delivering materials produced in the Eastern areas to Daren Port and Dandong Port.
A Yanbian Korean-Chinese autonomous state which got a good impression from the balanced development plan of China has been interested in the Rajin-Sonbong Development Regions. The Rajin Port-Joint Development Project is a way to conquer a key trade base to reach to Pacific countries via Rajin Port by turning materials from Dalian Port and Dandong Port to Hunchun, China.
Especially, in 1965 the nonfreezing Rajin Port has been used as an intermediary port where after Vladivostok Port and Nakhodka Port transported fertilizers and marine products to Rajin Port, Rajin Port carried out them to Japan and Southeast countries. Moreover, steel pipes and general merchandise from Japan and raw aluminum materials from Australia were transported to Rajin Port and carried out to Russia.
The Rajin Port Development of China has been a long-desired project of China’s. As North Korea’s dependence on China has been recently increasing, the Rajin Port Joint Development Project is attracting more attention regarding how much impact it will make on the relations between China and North Korea in the future.