China leases North Korean east coast port

The Peoples Republic of China has acquired a 10-year lease of Rajin port on the east coast of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, potentially increasing shipping access to the Sea of Japan, the governor of the Yanbian prefecture in Jilin province, which borders North Korea, told China News Service.

Li Longxi said the lease would help the province ship coal to southern China and Japan, easing transport bottlenecks.

Rajin is the largest port in Rason, also known as Rajin-Songbong, which North Korea designated as a free trade zone in 1991, and has access to rail lines to Russia and China. The lease would give Chinese shippers access to the Sea of Japan, a goal that motivated a project to develop the mouth of the Tumen River into a free trade zone operated jointly by China, Russia and North Korea, still mired in the planning stages.