DPRK-PRC Friendship Distribution Center Under Construction in Sinuiju

Institute for Far Eastern Studies
NK Brief No. 07-9-13-1

It has been reported that Chinese and North Korean governments are working in unison to push forward with a plan to jointly build a goods distribution center in the North Korean city of Sinuiju. According to Yonhap News, China proposed a plan for North Korea to build a ‘DPRK-PRC Friendship Distribution Center’ in Sinuiju, and the two countries are currently involved in negotiations over the idea. North Korea has already signed an investment agreement welcoming Chinese investment firms.

In conjunction with this, North Korean Chamber of Commerce Secretary General Yoon Young-suk held an interview with Yonhap News in the Chinese city of Changchun on September 3. At that time, while refuting a new push for the development of the Sinuiju Special Administrative Region, he stated that “regarding the procurement of a range of goods required in [North Korea], I have heard talk of a plan for a DPRK-PRC Friendship Distribution Center in part of the Sinuiju region.”

The scope of trade between China and North Korea is growing by the day, yet the Sinuiju Customs Office responsible for customs clearance for Chinese imports was limited from the beginning, and the need for a replacement facility has been brought up time and time again. This new distribution center appears to be in response to these calls for a larger facility. The construction of the center will be a cooperative project involving materials and capital from China, while North Korea will provide the land and labor.

A trader from Pyongyang acting as a confidential informant stated, “repairs on the road portion of the [steel bridge spanning the Yalu River connecting Dandong and Sinuiju] carried out from the 10th to the 26th of last month were also part of the material aid from the Chinese.” Officials at the North Korean consulate in Shenyang traveled to the bridge on the 23rd of last month to inspect the progress of the upgrades.

Not long ago, a Chinese trader traveled to Pyongyang, then by road to Sinuiju and over the river to Dandong. He observed, “many construction workers involved in large-scale ground leveling construction work along the railroad tracks running through the heart of downtown Sinuiju,” and, “approximately 10-20 meter deep, very large scale construction appeared to be underway.”


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