Russia Plans to Build First Road Bridge to North Korea

The governments of Russia and North Korea have begun formal talks on linking their two countries by building the first road bridge over the Tumen River, Interfax reported.

At present, there is a rail link, and flights between Pyongyang and Vladivostok are available on Mondays and Fridays, but it is not possible to drive over the border.

The discussions were held between Alexander Kozlov, Russia’s Far East development minister, and Kim Young-Jae, North Korea’s minister for external economic relations, in Pyongyang on 7 June, according to South Korean media.

A bridge over the Tumen has been discussed for many years but neither country has committed to funding the project.

The ministers also discussed the Rajin-Khasan Project to transport Russian goods such as coal using the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Rajin Port in the North.

South Korean companies were initially expected to take part in these projects, but this was ruled out after the North conducted a nuclear test in January 2016. Russian companies are reported to be ruling themselves out to avoid US government sanctions.

In November last year, a bridge was completed between China and North Korea over the Tumen River connecting Namyang District in North Hamgyong Province and the Chinese city of Tumen.