The Jian-Manpho Bridge: Another Failed Attempt at Economic Integration or One More Nail in the Coffin of “Maximum Pressure”?

Theo Clement, Research Associate (theo.clement@kcl.ac.uk)

The Jian-Manpho Bridge: Another Failed Attempt at Economic Integration or One More Nail in the Coffin of “Maximum Pressure”?

As recent fieldwork interviews and press reports suggest, the opening of the Jian-Manpho bridge linking China and the DPRK reflects an increased Chinese willingness to openly engage with the North Korean economy. While the borderlands have a long history of failed economic integration projects, the simultaneous opening of a third economic cooperation corridor near Manpho (in addition to Sinuiju and Rason) and a sudden rise in bilateral agreements might mean Beijing’s patience with “maximum pressure” is wearing thin and that Chinese businesses want to reestablish ties with Pyongyang before Seoul does.