The construction of a new bridge linking China and North Korea across the Apnok (or Yalu) River is expected to begin in October, a year after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed to the project during his visit to the North.
The Shenyang Evening News in China on Thursday said officials in Dandong, Liaoning Province paved the way for construction to begin in October. The People's Daily also reported that preparations are progressing smoothly.
The four-lane bridge linking Langtou in Dandong and Sinuiju in North Pyongan Province will be 20.4 km long and 33 m wide. China will foot the entire bill of around W300 billion (US$1=W1,163). Transport authorities in Liaoning Province selected six finalists from 22 designs for the bridge from eight design companies.
Dandong is the point where 70 percent of trade between China and North Korea passes, but the existing bridge, which was built in 1937, is dilapidated. So far North Korea had been reluctant to accept China's offer to build a wider bridge for fear that it would encourage defections but agreed during Wen's visit.