As Pyongyang continues to be the primary focus of North Korean state media and indeed the state’s infrastructure improvements, another, far less flashy city remains the country’s gateway to its key foreign financial supporter in China.
With a population less than half the neighboring Chinese city of Dandong, Sinuiju (at around 350,000 people according to the 2008 North Korean census) has lagged behind the capital in terms of development, but nonetheless has seen changes in recent years and even a mini construction boom.
The ports along the northern coast lining the Yalu River (or Amnok River as it is called in North Korea) serve an important economic role for the city’s dozens of factories, while a large number of trucks still pour into the city daily through the cross-border bridge.
But despite the economic changes seen in the electric bicycles prominent on city streets and the ever-growing mobile phone use, infrastructure in Sinuiju is still in disrepair, ports are outdated and in need of upgrades, and even the large construction projects sometimes appear to be of questionable quality.
These issues may yet be addressed, however, as Kim Jong Un laid out grand plans for the city during a visit last November.
The photos below feature the streets and ports of Sinuiju, the city’s outskirts, and even some of the North’s own influence across the border in Dandong, all of which offer the image of a city which, while changing in subtle ways, still lags far behind its Chinese neighbor.
All images credit to NK News