China has gained the use of a pier at North Korea's Rajin Port for 10 years to help development of the bordering region and establish a logistics network there.
Lee Yong-hee, the governor of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China's Jilin province, made the announcement to reporters after the opening of the People's Congress at the Great Hall of People in Beijing on Sunday.
He was quoted by the semi-official China News on Monday as saying, "In order for Jilin Province to gain access to the East Sea, a private company in China in 2008 obtained the right to use Pier No. 1 at Rajin Port for 10 years. Infrastructure renovation is currently underway there."
In an interview with Yonhap News on Monday, Lee said, "We're considering extending the contract by another 10 years afterward."
Jilin abuts the mouth of the Duman (Tumen) River in the southeast but its access to the East Sea is blocked by Russia and North Korea. "We hope that an international route to the East Sea will be opened via Rajin Port," he added.
Lee did not specify which Chinese company obtained the right and which North Korean agency awarded the concession. The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Feb. 25 said business investment in the North Korea-China border area is a normal business deal and does not therefore run counter to UN sanctions against the North.