Photos on an internet discussion portal have revealed details of an accident which led to a temporary suspension on Monday of traffic between the Chinese and North Korean border cities of Dandong and Sinuiju.
The photos, posted over the past two days on the Baidu web portal, show an overturned truck with its cargo container tipped onto the single train track crossing the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge.
A photo taken after the overturned truck and cargo was removed shows damage to the single lane adjacent to the track, with a small area of the road surface appearing to have completely collapsed into the river below.
But the photos, showing only one overturned vehicle, cast doubt on earlier South Korean media reports by YTN that suggested as many as three or four trucks had overturned.
While South Korean media reported on Tuesday that the bridge had quickly reopened following repairs, commentary between Baidu users suggested alterations in loading have resulted from the accident.
One apparently official notice posted on Baidu reveals new weight restrictions resulting from the accident, requesting heavy cargoes to cross the river by boat or train.
And another notice pictured from the Dandong Border Authorities indicates that the road will be closed from Oct 1 to 4 to all traffic except party, government, military and tourist vehicles.
The 1943 Sino-Korean bridge is one of North Korea’s main trade arteries to China, handling well over half the entire volume of trade between the two countries.
Because it is narrow, it is only suitable for one-way traffic, meaning the direction usually changes every two hours.
“So first North Korean trucks drive into China, and then it comes time for Chinese trucks drive south to North Korea,” wrote North Korea watcher Dr. Andrei Lankov in a recent column about Dandong.
“Due to the technical conditions of the old bridge, the maximum size of trucks is limited to 20 tons, and their speed must not exceed 5 km an hour. It means that only about 300-500 trucks combined cross the border per day in both direction.
“It seems that trains are real mover of cargo between the two sides. Given the sorry state of North Korea’s motor roads, this is not surprising,” Lankov added.
A modern, $350M bridge connecting Dandong to an area near Sinuiju in North Korea was completed last year but remains to be opened.
Satellite imagery indicates that the North Korean side is yet to connect any infrastructure to it.
No official reason has been given for the delay in opening the new bridge, but some analysts have suggested a cooling of relations between Beijing and Pyongyang could be the cause.
Main picture: changhai5211
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 443 words of this article.