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The bridge through the foggy faded into the fog

An announcement of an automotive transfer to the DPRK may not appear

The bridge through the foggy faded into the fog
The reason for the preparation of the EastRussia material was the results of the next meeting of North Korean diplomats with representatives of the authorities in Primorye in mid-September, at which representatives of the DPRK once again asked the Russian side to speed up the process of building a pontoon road bridge between border areas on the Tumannaya River (Tumangan) in the south of Primorye. - "We believe that a logistics transport hub should be created between the border regions of the DPRK and Primorye, which will strengthen relations between our countries. The issue of building a pontoon bridge between the territories is already undergoing a stage of approval in Moscow. We believe that this process should be accelerated," he said. Oh Seung Ho is the DPRK Foreign Ministry Department Director at this meeting.

At the same meeting, the vice-governor of Primorye, Sergei Nekhaev, emphasized to the Korean side that the department of transport and road facilities of the region had already prepared and sent to the relevant ministry a financial and economic justification for the construction of such a bridge. “Like you, we are waiting for a positive decision from the federal center and the start of the practical implementation of this project,” the vice-governor of the Primorsky Territory assured the representatives of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Having assured the North Korean representatives of the mutual interests at the meeting on the construction of the bridge, Sergei Nekhaev briefly briefed those present on the state of affairs in the field of cargo turnover, which, according to experts from the Primorye administration, increased 4,7 times in 2015, maintaining positive dynamics this year. “It is necessary to continue to increase the cargo base so that, as soon as the bridge is built, we could actively use it,” the vice governor said. Growth points, according to the vice-governor, may arise both due to Russian manufacturers exporting their goods to the DPRK, and due to the successful entrepreneurial activity of North Korean investors in Primorye.

Recall that the topic of the road crossing between Russia and the DPRK was actively discussed last year at the meetings of the co-chairs of the Russia-DPRK Intergovernmental Commission - Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East Alexander Galushka and the Minister of Foreign Economic Affairs of the DPRK Lee Ryong Nam. The relevant agreement was reached in October last year - the parties agreed to establish a joint commission on the construction of a pontoon bridge to further study the issue. The basis for the construction was an intergovernmental agreement on international road transport.

However, as it became known to EastRussia, the activity of Russian authorities to build an automobile crossing between Russia and the DPRK has significantly decreased. The Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation did not give an official comment to the EastRussia correspondent on whether the project of the pontoon bridge through the Tumannaya is under consideration in the department and what are the prospects for this initiative.

At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Territorial Development in its commentary indicated the risks of constructing an automobile crossing, and indirectly showed the economic inexpediency of implementing this initiative today. At the same time, the implementation of road transport between countries is not ruled out, it is proposed to organize it by transporting road trains by rail.

“It should be noted,” the EastRussia correspondent was told at the Russian Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, “that the Khasan-Tumangan-Rajin railway line has free capacity (the line capacity is 5 million tons / year, at the end of 2015 the line is loaded by less than 30%) and OJSC RZD is introducing the technology of piggyback transportation (transportation of road trains on railway platforms) ”. According to the representatives of the Ministry, this type of service can be used by Russian road carriers.

In addition, in Minvostokrazvitiya Russia believe that the automobile pontoon bridge has a number of significant shortcomings: it will create conditions for flooding the Russian part of the territory; it prohibits the carriage of passengers and there is a restriction on the load on the axis of trucks; seasonal use of the pontoon bridge and the inability to use cyclones, typhoons, floods makes it ineffective.

Also to the proposed construction site, located downstream of the Tumen River on 400-450 m from the existing railway bridge, there are no access roads. "To pay for investments in transport infrastructure to the bridge," the Ministry noted, "a guaranteed volume of cargo transportation of at least 3,2 million tons per year and 1,2 million people is required."

According to experts, North Korea's initiatives in strengthening international economic cooperation with Russia are regular and rather persistent and go back to the middle of the last century. At the same time, the reality of today is that many Russian cargoes destined for the DPRK go, paradoxically, through China. These are consumer goods, consumer goods, food, - says Ivan Tonkikh, a specialist in foreign economic activity and an independent expert on Asian countries. "Only coal passes through the Druzhba railway bridge, but this is transit to China, which is transshipped by the Rajin port," the expert noted. 

Illustration: YANGCHAO /
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