Dandong: Sino-DPRK Trade Hub

Located on the border between China and North Korea in the Liaoning Province of Northeast China, Dandong is a major port city and ideally placed for the development of trading ties between the two countries. The potential for bilateral trade was highlighted at the recent 2012 China-DPRK Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo held in Dandong, which was a huge success. Up to 20 countries were represented at the expo and despite the downturn in the global economy more than 6,000 business representatives reportedly concluded agreements on over 200 projects.

A contributing factor in the success of the expo was the agreement reached between China and North Korea in June 2011 to establish a joint free trade area on Wihwa and Hwanggumpyong Islands, both of which belong to North Korea and are located near Dandong in the Yalu River, which forms the border between the two countries. Dandong is connected to Shenyang and Sinuiju in North Korea, while the construction of the Yalu River Bridge will offer another access point between the two countries.

Dandong is the northernmost port along China’s coastline, providing foreign trade facilities for thirteen cities located in the eastern region of Northeast China. The city’s transport infrastructure includes trains running several times a day between Dandong and Shenyang, with overnight trains connecting the city to Beijing, Chanchun, Shanghai, Dalian and Qingdao. Buses also run between the aforementioned cities. Dandong airport is located around 13 miles outside the city, with domestic flights available to and from Beijing, Qingdao, Guangzhou, Sanya, Shenzhen and Shanghai.

In addition to being an important trade and commercial hub, Dandong is a popular tourist destination for domestic travelers. Attractions include the Hushan Great Wall, which was added by the Ming Dynasty to the historic Great Wall of China. The Hushan Great Wall is around 1,200 meters long, starting at the border between China and North Korea and traveling over Hushan Mountain. The Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge over the Yalu River and the nearby Black Creek Reservoir are also popular tourism attractions near Dandong, while in the city a museum detailing the Korean War, described as the “War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea”, is open to visitors.