Friendship Bridge
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Jan S. Krogh's Geosite: CNKPRU Friendship Bridge

Tripoint area viewed from the Chinese view platform. Approximate borderlines are put on the picture, but note that the KPRU is still not agreed. According to information we have received during the expedition the KPRU river bridge border runs between the third and fourth bridge segment (counted from Russian side). (Click on the image for a high-resolution image.)

In 1952 Russia and North Korea built a wooden bridge connecting the town of Khasan, Russia with the town of Tumangang, North Korea. The bridge building started in 1950.  On 9 August 1959 1) the present metal truss bridge was taken in use. It may be possible to use it as a dual-purpose bridge (road and rail), but is only used as a rail bridge. It's height is 11 meters, width is 8 meters and length is 590 meters. The Khasan Tumangang bridge is the only land connecting point between Russia and North Korea. The bridge is only 135.6 m from the closest Chinese point.  About 17 km separates China with the Sea of Japan.

It is perhaps unnecessary to mention that the construction of the bridge has aroused indignation among the Chinese. It complicated the navigation of even small vessels between the Chinese river ports and the Sea of Japan.

The exact location of the Sino-Russian border along the left bank of the Tumen River was an area of contention (the entirety of the right bank of the river belonging to North Korea). The Convention of Peking (Beijing) set the location of border at 24 km (15 mi) above the mouth of the river, where it enters the Sea of Japan, but through Chinese negotiation was later moved to about 15 or 16 km (9 mi) above the mouth. In 1964, both sides agreed to a border about 17 km (11 mi) above the mouth, and these terms were kept in the 1991 agreement. However, the Russian side preferred it to be set at 24 km, and the Chinese at 15 km. The final position was set at 18.3 km (11.3 mi) above the mouth of the river.
The final position of the triangular border, where the People's Republic of China, Russia, and North Korea meet, was successfully demarcated in 1998 after trilateral negotiations from all three countries, and went, according to English Wikipedia, into effect 1999.
3)  However we have not been able to find verification what such a treaty was signed.

The 1860 Convention of Peking ceded parts of Outer Manchuria to the Russian Empire. It granted Russia the right to the Ussuri krai, a part of the modern day Primorye, the territory that corresponded with the ancient Manchu province of East Tartary. The treaty is considered an unequal treaty. 4) 

According to information from our guide; an assistant of the head of the Russian border delegation; the borderline between North Korea and Russia goes between each country's bridge elements. On the picture one can see the Russian elements are taller than the North Korean.  The two countries has not agreed on the exact river border between the bridge and the Reference line. According to the Treaty Draft the border shall follow the middle line of the Tumen River. 2)

The bridge photographed from Russian side.

Close-up of the bridge where we clearly see the level difference between the North Korean (to left) and the Russian (to right) elements.

Short film from CNKPRU. Train over the Korean-Russian friendship bridge from North Korea, filmed from the 
Chinese tourist platform. With Rolf Palmberg, Peter Hering and Jan S. Krogh.

Sources

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khasan_(urban-type_settlement)

2. Treaty draft, article 1, point 2. 

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Sino-Russian_border_agreement

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_of_Peking

This page was last time updated on 04.03.12