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|An empty ferry wheel is illuminated at night in Dandong New City. Photo: Li HaoGT Empty apartment buildings on Moon Island in Dandong New City. Photo: Li HaoGT Tourists to Dandong try to sneak a peek of the North Korean side across the Yalu River. Photo: Li HaoGT Photo: Li HaoGT Photo: Li HaoGT Quotes: GT Trucks on the uncompleted roads in Dandong New District.Photo: Li HaoGT The New Yalu Bridge in the New District Marc Bartra World Cup Jersey , which connects Dandong with Sinuiju, North Korea, was planned to open in October 2014, but was delayed indefinitely. Photo: Li HaoGT The largely empty streets in Dandong New District at night. Photo: Li HaoGT The largely empty apartment buildings in Dandong New District at night. Photo: Li HaoGT A street designed to sell North Korean food remains empty, with no shops open. Photo: Li HaoGT With a special neighbor, Chinese town on NK border faces bleak business prospects
Dandong New City, a district of Dandong which was built from scratch to be a China-North Korean trade hub Lucas Vazquez World Cup Jersey , now stands mostly empty. Many cooperation projects in the area have stalled due to North Korea's political instability. Meanwhile, Dandong's traders are worried that the latest UN sanctions on North Korea will further squeeze their businesses, at a time of general economic difficulty.
From a distance, Dandong New City, a district in Dandong, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, looks like a sparkling example of China's urbanization.
Dozens of modern skyscrapers form an impressive skyline on the Yalu River Koke World Cup Jersey , which demarcates the China-North Korea border. The city also boasts a massive government building, a large commercial complex and a riverside park with a ferry wheel.
But there is one thing that the district is short of: people. During the day, few cars travel on the 10-lane, 70 meter-wide main road; not a single store is open on its commercial pedestrian street, and the ferry wheel never moves. When night falls, the emptiness of Dandong New City is eerie as neon lights illuminate the hollow skyscrapers.
The story of Dandong New City is more than just a story of a city's failed attempt at rapid urbanization. The past and present of the district is probably the best symbol for how the China-North Korea relationship has changed over the past decade.
Remnants of a city's dreams
When the district was built from expanses of farmland seven years ago, it was meant to be a hub for bilateral trade.
At the southern end of the district Juanfran World Cup Jersey , the two countries planned a modern, cable-stayed New Yalu River Bridge linking Dandong New City with Sinuiju, a North Korean city that was once a special administrative region that the neighboring nation used to experiment with a market economy.
The district is also adjacent to Hwanggumpyong Island to its southwest, a China-North Korea "special economic zone" whose launching ceremony was attended by top officials such as Chen Deming, then China's Minister of Commerce, and the late Jang Sung-taek, an uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un who was once seen as the second most powerful figure in the country. He has since been purged Juan Mata World Cup Jersey , and North Korean state media reported his execution in December 2013.
From 2009 to 2012, Dandong's local media hyped the district's promising future as a "once-in-a-century opportunity," and for a while, Chinese investors and traders flocked to Dandong New City, hoping to tap into the massive potential of Sinuiju - hoping that if it opened up it might replicate the success of Shenzhen, which was turned into a metropolis and an economic hub through economic liberalization in the 1980s.
But all that is distant memory today. Seen from the Chinese border, the Hwanggumpyong special economic zone is now covered with weeds and sand. The 2.2 billion yuan ($338 million) Jordi Alba World Cup Jersey , 3-kilometer New Yalu River Bridge, although finished, stretches across the river and touches farmland in Sinuiju, as North Korea hasn't built roads on their side to link up with the bridge.
"After Jang Sung-taek was purged by North Korea in December 2013, most of these projects were delayed indefinitely - there hasn't been an official cancellation, but no progress has been made in the past three years," Lü Chao Isco World Cup Jersey , director of the North and South Korea Research Center at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
"Many investors in Dandong New City have hence pulled out, seeing that the cooperation with North Korea didn't work out," he said.
The Administration Committee of Dandong New City refused an interview request by the Global Times.
"We're not able to talk right now, considering the tense political situation and the sensitive geographical location of the New City," a spokeswoman at the committee told the Global Times.
In Wujin Town, a commercial area in Dandong New City Iker Casillas World Cup Jersey , more than two thirds of shops are either closed or have moved out. "This place is hopeless," Xiu Tiandi (not his real name), a 27-year-old Dandong entrepreneur who runs a wallpaper shop there, told the Global Times.
Deserted new town
The Dandong government has done what it can to boost the area - it moved some of its government buildings here, and has been building schools and hospitals in the area to make it more livable. But the efforts haven't paid off so far. Official data shows that by the end of 2014, the city, which was designed to be home to at least 400 Hector Bellerin World Cup Jersey ,000 people and is about the size of San Francisco, only had around 60,000 residents.
The local government has tried to attract retailers, waiving rents for small businesses and offering subsidies. Xiu, for example, said he had rented his 100-square meter, two-storey shop for virtually nothing for three years.
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