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Another bridge to link DPRK

Updated: 2010-03-08

Another bridge to link DPRK

Beijing - A second bridge linking China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will be built in Dandong, Liaoning province, a local official has said.

Zhao Liansheng, mayor of Dandong, said construction work on the bridge linking Sinuiju in the DPRK will begin in October and take three years to complete.

"Preparatory work for the new road bridge is underway," Zhao told China Daily on the sidelines of the ongoing National People's Congress (NPC) session.

Zhao, an NPC deputy, said the 6-km, 33-m-wide two-way bridge is expected to cost about 1.7 billion yuan ($250 million), which China will fund.

"The first bridge to be built over the Yalu River in more than half a century will become a major link between the two countries," the mayor said.

The existing bridge was built in the 1930s and cannot meet the traffic demand as a result of rising commercial exchanges between the two countries, said Lu Chao, a researcher at the Liaoning Academy of Social Science.

Lu told China Daily that the new bridge, 10 km downstream from the old one, will be linked to the Dongbiandao railway, which will be connected to the Trans-Siberian Railway.

"It will be part a railway network connecting major countries in Northeast Asia," he said.

Ma Xiaohong, director of the Dandong Hongxiang Development Co Ltd, a leading Sino-DPRK trade company, welcomed the project.

"Currently, we have a long waiting time to cross the old bridge," she said. "The new bridge will greatly increase trade volume and improve transportation."

In late February, reports from the Republic of Korea said two islets in Yalu River adjacent to Dandong would be developed by Chinese enterprises.

Zhao said the government is not involved in that initiative. "However, that's definitely the right direction for economic cooperation between the two sides," he said.

An international trade and commerce center will also be built in Dandong, the largest city facing the DPRK across the river, Zhao added.

"Dandong will serve as the hub of bilateral ties in trade, investment and tourism," Zhao added.

Official statistics show more than 70 percent of bilateral trade is handled in Dandong.

In 2008, two-way trade reached a record $2.79 billion, up 41.7 percent from 2007.

(China Daily 03/08/2010 page1)

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