TOKYO • China and North Korea opened a new border crossing over the Yalu River, signalling aspirations for deeper economic ties between the neighbours even as Pyongyang’s trade remains crimped by international sanctions.
The border checkpoint at the foot of a new bridge opened on Monday, connecting the northeastern Chinese city of Jian with North Korea’s Manpo, Chinese state media reported.
The China-DPRK Jian- Manpo highway connection is for passenger and cargo transport and hosts an advanced customs facility, the China News Service said.
The opening was marked by several tour buses crossing from the Chinese side and then returning from North Korea, the Yonhap News Agency of South Korea reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
The ceremony appeared to show that local Chinese officials are ready to step up trade and exchanges with North Korea in response to its call for economic development, according to Yonhap.
China provides a lifeline to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his state has long been dependent on Beijing’s help to keep its meager economy afloat.
Kim’s summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi broke down on Feb 28 over sanctions that have cut Pyongyang off from global commerce and were imposed on North Korea for its pursuit of a nuclear arsenal.
The South Korean Unification Ministry declined to comment. — Bloomberg