Daily NK sources recently confirmed that construction resumed on the North Korean road leading to the New Yalu River Bridge, which links Sinuiju to Dandong. At around the same period, Daily NK sources observed vehicles traveling from China to North Korea on this very bridge.

Given the deadlock in the denuclearization negotiations between North Korea and the United States, publicly opening the New Yalu River Bridge, a symbol of exchange between North Korea and China, does not seem likely to happen within the year. Daily NK sources, however, anticipate that the bridge will be officially open sometime in the next year. 

Footage provided by a Daily NK source indeed shows vehicles traveling from China to North Korea, one by one, and then returning to China from North Korea.

CONSTRUCTION ON BRIDGE CONTINUES

However, the New Yalu River Bridge has not yet officially opened to the public. “Passage on the New Yalu River Bridge is as restricted as it has ever been, and the entrance to the bridge is barricaded by steel gates,” said a source. “They do seem to allow temporary passage over the bridge when they find it necessary.”

Although construction of the New Yalu River Bridge concluded in 2014, the official opening of the bridge was delayed when North Korea demanded that China pay for the construction fees of the road leading from the bridge to North Korea, as well as for its customs facilities. In November, Daily NK reported that construction on the road leading from the bridge to North Korea, which had previously been closed off, had resumed.

Based on photos (including the one below) made available through US-based satellite image website EOS LandViewer, it is possible to infer that construction on the road connecting the New Yalu River Bridge to North Korea began in September and that it has been ongoing ever since.

Image: EOS LandViewer

BRIDGE LIKELY TO OPEN NEXT YEAR

Daily NK was able to independently verify that a Chinese company has taken charge of the construction of the road connecting the bridge to North Korea. According to a source, “The construction on the connecting road is not totally finished, and it does not seem as though they will open the bridge to the public anytime soon.”

In addition to the above, given the deadlock in the denuclearization negotiations between North Korea and the United States, publicly opening the New Yalu River Bridge, a symbol of exchange between North Korea and China, does not seem likely to happen within the year.

“Both China and North Korea remain very much conscious of international sanctions, so it seems likely that they’ll just leave things as they are for the rest of this year,“ said a source, adding, “When  construction on the road connecting North Korea and the bridge is complete, I expect that it will be opened to the public by next year.”

*Translated by Violet Kim

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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