top of page



N 41° 23′ 14′′, E 128° 10′ 00′′
732 MASL
Figure III.1.35_keymaprefont.jpg
Figure III.1.35_atlas.jpg
Background Prepare C35A1.jpg

A 1925 photograph of logs from the Mount Changbai/Baekdu area, which contains the richest forest resources of the country, rafted down the Yalu River by log drivers. After the establishment of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (1932–1945), the Japanese developed timber and paper mills at Changbai–Hyesan, the starting point of water transportation on the Yalu River.

Background Prepare C35B1.jpg

Changbai–Hyesan International Bridge over the Yalu River, with the port of entry and North Korean War Memorial in Hyesan in the background. First built in 1936 as part of the Japan–Manchukuo joint campaign to build six river/border-crossing bridges from 1932 to 1939, the bridge was rebuilt three times after it was destroyed in 1943 (by floods), 1953 (by the war), and 1964 (by floods). The current bridge built in 1985 is one of the main attractions in the Changbai Port Scenic Area.

1712: The Manchu conquest of China and establishment of the Qing dynasty in 1644 threw the significance of Mount Changbai/Baekdu into high relief. As the source of Yalu and Tumen Rivers separating Northeast China from the Korean peninsula, the mountain was ennobled by Qing China and Chosen Korea in the 17th and 18th century, respectively, and a joint border demarcation was carried out.


1860: The Qing–Chosen border area was deliberately depopulated for nearly 200 years until the second half of the 19th century. After signing the 1858 Treaty of Aigun and 1860 Convention of Peking, Tsarist Russia extended its boundary with Qing China to the Tumen River Estuary.


1885: To solidify its control over the newly established Primorskaya Oblast in the Far East region, Russia began recruiting Korean immigrants to reclaim the wildlands in the area in the 1860s. As a response, Qing recruited Han Chinese to cultivate and settle in the border region. In the face of floods of immigrants in the northern bank of the Tumen River (Kando), Qing and Chosen officials met in 1885 and 1887 to resolve disputes with little effect.


1908: Negotiations continued between Japan and Qing after Korea became a protectorate of the Empire of Japan in 1905. Imperial Japanese forces in Korea invaded Kando in 1907, and Qing established an administrative office in Changbai in 1908.


1909: Qing and Japan signed the 1909 Kando Convention. Japan affirmed the territorial rights of the Qing dynasty over Kando in exchange for Qing’s recognition of Japan’s special economic and political power and rights in Manchuria.


1931: Changbai came under Japanese control and became part of the Empire of Manchuria (Manchukuo; 1932–1945), which was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan. The Japanese developed timber and paper mills at Changbai–Hyesan, the starting point of water transportation on the Yalu River.


1936: As part of the Japan–Manchukuo joint campaign to construct six river/border-crossing bridges from 1932 to 1939, Changbai­–Hyesan Bridge across the Yalu River was completed in 1936. The bridge was reconstructed after being destroyed by floods in 1943.


1950: During the Korean War (1950–1953), Changbai–Hyesan Bridge was blown up by the US military to prevent the flow of Chinese and Soviet supplies to North Korea.


1953: The bridge was restored after the war.


1960: Industries related to nontimber forest products, such as ginseng, gradually replaced the timber industry on the Chinese side after the establishment of the Changbaishan National Nature Reserves in 1960. Hyesan witnessed a mining boom after a copper mine was explored in the 1960s.


1961: China and North Korea signed the Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty in 1961 and the Sino–North Korean Border Treaty in 1962.


1966: Changbai–Hyesan Bridge was once again destroyed by floods in 1964. China­–North Korea relations deteriorated during China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), and cross-border trade was stopped.


1985: China and North Korea reached an agreement on the reconstruction of the river crossing bridge. Changbai–Hyesan International Bridge was opened in 1985, and cross-border trade resumed.


2000: The tourism industry rapidly developed on the Chinese side in the early 1990s. Mount Changbai was added to the list of China’s 4A Tourist Attractions in 2001 and further upgraded to a 5A Tourist Attraction in 2009. The region experienced rapid growth in the mineral water industry in the early 2000s.


2005: The mining and hydropower industries rapidly developed on the North Korea side in the early 2000s. Completed in 2005, Samsu Reservoir in Hyesan is the water intake point of North Korea’s largest hydroelectric project. In 2007, the Hyesan–China Joint Venture Mineral Company was established to produce and sell copper mainly to China.


2017: The Changbai Port Scenic Area was established and opened. It was rated as a national 3A-level scenic spot by the China National Tourism Administration in 2019.

bottom of page