What’s new in Sinuiju?

Google Earth has added some new GeoEye imagery for Sinuiju, Ryongchon, and Phihyon counties. The imagery dates are Oct 12, 2009 and April 14th, 2009.  So what is new in this area?

Pyongyang–Sinuiju highway under construction
It can be most easily seen between the Sinuiju Train Station and Rakwon-dong.

Villages along the highway are being spruced up in anticipation of car traffic:

The highway construction can be seen as far south as half-way between Ryongchon and Yomju.  I suspect that it is intended to continue south to Anju where it will meet up with the Pyongyang-Hyangsan highway.

Market construction in Sinuiju and Phihyon County
I blogged about the new Sinuiju market here. Below is imagery of the new Phihyon County Market (피현군):

Ponghwa Chemical Factory (Refinery)
It was partially visible before, but now we can see the whole thing. It is one of two refineries in the DPRK.  The other is in Rason (satellite image here).

Reconstructed Ryonchon City (룡천시)
I have previously blogged about this here.

On the left is an image taken after the infamous 2004 Ryongchon explosion.  On the right is the city as it appears reconstructed in 2009.

Ryongchon offers another interesting secret.  In the past, the high street ran through the center of the city (North-South):

Today, however, traffic is routed around the western side of Ryongchon rather than through the center of town.  The road in the center of town has been converted into a public square of sorts (as can be seen in the images above), and the wide avenues that run the North-South distance of the city now come to an awkward end in the fields…

Bottom photos: North and south sides of town and their vanishing high streets

Also, in 2005 the North Korean government was building either a highway or canal on the western side of Ryongchon, but this effort seems completely abandoned today:


3 Responses to “What’s new in Sinuiju?”

  1. James says:

    The Uiju is what is new in Sinuiju.

    Sorry, had to be said.

  2. Even by NK standards of weirdness, the fact that until now so major a national artery as the main road from Pyongyang to China remained unpaved is truly astounding. You’d have expected this to have been done when they built other ‘motorways’: south to Kaesong, east to Wonsan, west to Nampo. But the road North, as I understand, stopped at Myonhyangsan. Unbelievable.