Chongjin

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Chongjin
청진시
Municipal City
Korean transcription(s)
 • Chosongul 청진시
 • Hancha 淸津市
 • McCune-Reischauer Ch'ŏngjin-si
 • Revised Romanization Cheongjin-si
Downtown Chongjin in September 2011, as seen from the city's monument of Kim Il-sung.
Downtown Chongjin in September 2011, as seen from the city's monument of Kim Il-sung.
Nickname(s): City of Iron
Chongjin is located in North Korea
Chongjin
Chongjin
Coordinates: 41°47′N 129°46′E / 41.783°N 129.767°E / 41.783; 129.767
Country  North Korea
Province North Hamgyong
Area
 • Total 269 km2 (104 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 • Total 627,000
 • Dialect Hamgyong
Time zone Korea Standard Time (UTC+09:00)

Chongjin (청진시 Cheongjin-si [tɕʰʌŋdʑin ɕʰi]) is the capital of North Korea's North Hamgyong Province and the country's third largest city. It is sometimes called the City of Iron.[1]

History[edit]

Chongjin was a small fishing village prior to Japanese assertion of control over Korea; its date of establishment is unknown. The Chinese characters for its name mean 'clear river crossing'.[1] In 1908, Japan made the city a trading port and built the steelworks, both for transport of Korean resources and as a stopping point for resources from China.[2] The Imperial Japanese Army 19th Infantry Division was headquartered in Nanan, where the Japanese built a planned city based on a rectangular street grid.[1] During the North Korean famine of the 1990s, Chongjin was one of the worst affected locations in the country; death rates may have been as high as 20 percent.[1] Conditions there remain poor in terms of food availability.[1] This problem has caused several instances of civil unrest in Chongjin, a rarity in North Korea. On March 4, 2008, a crowd of women merchants protested in response to tightened market controls.[1] Rising grain prices and government attempts to prohibit "peddling in the market" have been cited as causes for the protests.[1] As a result of the protest, the Chongjin local government "posted a proclamation allowing peddling in the market."[3] On August 24, 2008, a clash occurred between foot patrol agents and female merchants, which escalated into a "massive protest rally". It was reported that the Chongjin local government issued verbal instructions relaxing the enforcement activity until the time of the next grain ration.[3]

1995 KPA military coup[edit]

Eyewitness accounts claim that in the autumn of 1995, the entire 6th Army Corps of the Korean People's Army, stationed in the centre of Ranam-guyeok district, abandoned Chongjin city en masse during one overnight period.[1] Despite the event not being reported by the state-run newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, eyewitness accounts describe a convoy of approximately three thousand men accompanied by dozens of trucks and tanks gathering close to Ranam Station before leaving the city.[1] Following this event, it was rumoured that the Army had failed to successfully seize control of Chongjin in coordination with an assassination of Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang by fellow plotters and the entire army was purged; other sources partially counter these claims, citing that the alleged disbandment occurred for financial reasons.[1] It is thought that the 6th Army was subsequently replaced by the 9th Army from Wonsan.[1]

Administrative divisions[edit]

From 1948 to 1960, 1967 to 1977, and 1987 to present, Ch'ŏngjin was governed as a part of North Hamgyong Province. From 1960 until 1967, and again from 1977 to 1987, Chongjin was administered as a directly governed city.[4]

Ch'ŏngjin is divided into 7 wards (구역, kuyŏk, Korean pronunciation: [kujʌk]).

Geography[edit]

Chongjin is located in the northeast of North Korea, in North Hamgyong Province, near the East Korea Bay (Kyŏngsŏng Bay)[5] in the Sea of Japan. The Sosong River runs through the city; contained in the city are the Sonam Stream and Mount Komal.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Chongjin
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 9
(48)
9
(48)
19
(66)
28
(82)
33
(91)
33
(91)
34
(93)
34
(93)
32
(90)
28
(82)
20
(68)
13
(55)
34
(93)
Average high °C (°F) −2
(28)
0
(32)
4
(39)
11
(52)
16
(61)
18
(64)
21
(70)
25
(77)
20
(68)
15
(59)
7
(45)
1
(34)
11.3
(52.4)
Average low °C (°F) −9
(16)
−7
(19)
−2
(28)
3
(37)
9
(48)
13
(55)
18
(64)
19
(66)
14
(57)
7
(45)
0
(32)
−6
(21)
4.9
(40.7)
Record low °C (°F) −22
(−8)
−17
(1)
−14
(7)
−6
(21)
1
(34)
6
(43)
9
(48)
10
(50)
4
(39)
−6
(21)
−12
(10)
−18
(0)
−22
(−8)
Precipitation mm (inches) 5
(0.2)
8
(0.31)
20
(0.79)
28
(1.1)
71
(2.8)
101
(3.98)
117
(4.61)
201
(7.91)
120
(4.72)
61
(2.4)
23
(0.91)
10
(0.39)
765
(30.12)
Avg. precipitation days 9 7 7 9 13 19 19 16 10 7 9 10 135
 % humidity 60 61 64 67 72 83 87 83 75 64 61 61 69.8
Source #1: Weather Reports
Source #2: Weather Reports (precipitation amounts)

Economy[edit]

Chongjin is one of the DPRK’s important steel and fiber industry centers. It has a shipyard, locomotive plant, and a rubber factory. Near the port area are the Chongjin Steel Co., Chemical Textile Co., May 10 Coal Mine Machinery Factory, and Kimchaek Iron & Steel (which was called Nippon Steel during the Japanese occupation);[1] however industrial activities in the city have been severely handicapped due to a lack of resources. Despite this however, Chongjin is estimated to have a 24 per cent share of the DPRK's foreign trade and is home to a resident Chinese consul who serves Chinese merchants and businesspersons operating in the north east of the country.[6]

Because of the heavy concentration of industries in the area, Chongjin is also the DPRK's air pollution black spot. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent shortage of oil to generate electricity, many factories have been shuttered. One of the first senior U.N. officials permitted to visit the area, Tun Myat, observed in 1997 when the North Korea economic crisis reached its peak, "Chongjin was like a forest of scrap metal, with huge plants that seem to go on for miles and miles that have been turned into rust buckets. I've been all over the world, and I've never seen anything quite like this."

Other Industries[edit]

  • Chosun Clothing Factory – makes Vinalon cloth into uniforms
  • North Hangyong Provincial Broadcasting Company
  • Majon Deer Company – makes medicine from deer antlers
  • Second Metal Construction Company
  • Onpho Hot Springs – the alkaline waters are reserved for party officials and guarded by the military
  • Soenggiryong mines – kaolin mine

The area has little arable land, so the famine in the 1990s hit the residents of Chongjin particularly hard. During the late 1990s, the city's residents experienced some of the highest death rates from famine, which might have been as high as 20 percent of the population.[7] By 1995, the local frog population was wiped out due to overhunting.[1]

Prisons[edit]

Shipping[edit]

Chongjin's port has established itself as a critical componenent of busy international shipping trade with neighbouring parts of Northeast and Southeast Asia. Of DPRK's eight international shipping ports, Chongjin is thought to be second most economically important (after Nampho port on the west coast)[9] and serves as a base of trade to Russia and Japan. Chongjin also boasts a seamen's club which serves to cater for foreign crews as well as a meeting base for North Koreans and foreigners engaged in the shipping trade.[6]

The People's Republic of China and Russia have set up their Consulates in Chongjin. It is unique for a North Korean city to have a foreign consulate. Chongjin is the administrative centre of the North Hamgyong Province.

Transport[edit]

Air[edit]

Chongjin Airport is equipped with a 2,000 m (6,600 ft) runway on a military and civilian dual purpose air station (CHO). North Korea planned to upgrade an old airport near Hamhung as late as 2003, so that it would have a 4,000 m (13,000 ft) runway, and would act as the nation's second international airport. However, it is still not yet completed.

Rail[edit]

The Wonson-Rason Railway and Chongjin-Rason Railway (Pyongra Line) electric railways connect Rason and capital Pyongyang.

Urban transit[edit]

Chongjin is the only city in North Korea other than Pyongyang to operate a tram system. These trains are all second-hand from Pyongyang. Originally, it was planned to be a 32 km (20 mi) system, but only phase 1, 6 km (3.7 mi), and phase 2, 7 km (4.3 mi), were completed. Phase 3, 8 km (5.0 mi), was not completed due to lack of funds. Also, due to electricity shortages, the trams run infrequently. Besides trams, trolley buses also operate, but these are operated only two hours a day. Private taxis do not exist.

The main road, called Road No. 1, is a six lane highway that intersects the city.[1]

Culture[edit]

There are several state-run higher educational facilities located here: Chongjin University of Technology, Chongjin Mine University, Chongjin University of Education no. 1, University of Education no. 2, Chongjin University of Agriculture, Chongjin University of Medicine and Chongjin University of Light Industry, plus an aquatic product research centre. The Kim Jong-suk Teacher's College, which was named after Kim Jong-il's mother, Kim Jong-suk, is in Chongjin.[1]

Famous scenic sites include hot springs and Mt. Chilbosan. It has a zoo with no animals in it. Chongjin's most famous product is processed squid. The city is home to the football team, the Ch'ŏngjin Chandongcha.

The local newspaper is the Hambuk Daily.[1]

Chongjin is featured in the book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.[1]

Other cultural locations[edit]

  • North Hamgyong Province Theater
  • Chonmasan Hotel for foreign visitors to stay at, built to convey the power of the government over the individual; in 1997, a French aid worker from Action contre la Faim was allowed to stay there but was not let out of the hotel to observe the famine conditions.[1]
  • Pohanng Square has a 25-foot bronze statue and the Revolutionary History Museum
  • Inmin Daehakseup Dang (Grand People's Study House)

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Demick, Barbara (2010). Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea (UK ed.). Granta Publications. ISBN 978-1-84708-141-4. 
  2. ^ http://www.communitywalk.com/location_info/363120/356350
  3. ^ a b Good Friends, “North Korea Today,” No. 113 (Mar. 14, 2008)
  4. ^ http://nk.chosun.com/map/map.html?ACT=geo_03
  5. ^ "Chongjin". Encyclopaeida Britannica’s. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Smith, Hazel (2009).North Korean Shipping:A Potential for WMD Proliferation?, Asia Pacific Issues. No. 87. Retrieved on 2010-12-28.
  7. ^ Demick, Barbara (2010). Nothing to Envy. Real Lives in North Korea. W11 4QR London, UK: Granta Publications. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-84708-141-4. 
  8. ^ KINU White paper on human rights in North Korea 2009 (Chapter G. Human Rights Violations Inside Political Concentration Camps (Kwanliso), page 125)
  9. ^ Asia Trade Hub, www.asiatradehub.com/n.korea/ports.asp.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Chongjin at Wikimedia Commons
  • Chongjin travel guide from Wikivoyage

Coordinates: 41°48′N 129°47′E / 41.800°N 129.783°E / 41.800; 129.783