Last updated

라선특별시 · Rason Special City
Korean transcription(s)
   Chosŏn'gŭl 라선특별시
   McCune-Reischauer Rasŏn T'ŭkpyŏlsi
   Revised Romanization Raseon Teukbyeolsi
Rason montage.png
Rason sights: Bipaseom Island (top), Imperial Hotel and Casino (bottom left), Rason Hotel (bottom right)
Rason Map 2020.png
CountryFlag of North Korea.svg  North Korea
Region Kwanbuk
  Party Committee Chairman Rim Kyong-man [1] (WPK)
  People's Committee Chairman Cho Chong-ho [1]
  Total746 km2 (288 sq mi)
27 m (89 ft)
 (2019) [2]
  Density275/km2 (710/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+9 (Pyongyang Time)

Rason (formerly Rajin-Sŏnbong; Korean pronunciation: [ɾa.sʌ̹n,ɾa.dʑin.sʰʌ̹n.boŋ] ) is a North Korean special city and ice-free port [3] in the Sea of Japan in the North Pacific Ocean on the northeast tip of North Korea. It is in the Kwanbuk region and location of the Rason Special Economic Zone.


In South Korean pronunciation, the initial "R" of the name is pronounced as "N", (나선, Naseon) as per standard Korean phonology. In 2000, the name was shortened from "Rajin-Sŏnbong" to "Rason". During the 1930s, the Japanese called it Rashin; at that time, it was an important port at the end of a railroad line. It was liberated by the Red Army on 14 August 1945.

Before 1991, Rason was used by the Soviet Union as an alternative warm-water port in case Vladivostok was unavailable. [4] The Soviet naval facilities were built starting in 1979. [5] From 1993 to 2004, it was administered separately from North Hamgyŏng as the directly governed city (Chikhalsi) of Rason. Prior to 1993 and from 2004 to 2009, the city had been part of the North Hamgyŏng Province. Since 2010, the city is a "special city", again breaking from provincial control, but different from its older designation as a directly governed city. [6] What this means in practice is unclear.

Rason borders Hunchun county in Jilin province of China and Khasansky District in Primorsky Krai of Russia. [3] China is making investments in the port as it gives it access to the Sea of Japan. [3] [7] In July 2011, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) gave a green light for China's domestic trade cargo to be shipped via its port of Rajin from northeast to east China. [8] Coal is shipped from nearby Chinese mines to Shanghai. [3] A casino by the sea caters to Chinese visitors. [9]

Rason (2007). Rason City.jpg
Rason (2007).

Administrative divisions

Rason is divided into two district (kuyŏk). [10]

Rajin-guyŏk (라진구역; 羅津區域)

Sŏnbong-guyŏk (선봉군; 先鋒郡)


Rason has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification: Dwb).

Climate data for Rason
Mean daily maximum °C (°F)−3.8
Daily mean °C (°F)−9.1
Mean daily minimum °C (°F)−14.4
Average precipitation mm (inches)6
Source: Climate-Data.org [11]


The Korean People's Navy maintains a naval training base at the Rajin Port in the city of Rason. In addition, a Chinese company in 2017 leased a dock for 10 years at the port. [12]


Foreign Investments

The Rason Emperor Hotel and Casino is a resort and casino in Rason owned by the Emperor Group, a diversified Hong Kong based commercial group. [13]

Oil Refinery

Rajin Oil Refinery is the largest oil refinery in North Korea. Although North Korea itself lacks oil wells, they can and do import oil from other countries to supply their refineries. Large oil tankers are spotted multiple times unloading at the Rajin port. [2]


Rason has a number of mineral resources within the locality, including coal, iron, magnesite, and clay. [2]

Ship building

Rason is home to No 28 Shipyard Najin, a shipbuilder and supplier to the Korean People's Navy.



Rajin Station is on the Pyongra Line and Hambuk Line. The Hongui Line was opened in 1959, connecting Rason with the Russian Khasan on the Tumen River; the river is the natural North Korea–Russia border.


The Tumen River Bridge connects between Hunchun and Rason.

Sister cites

Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Hunchun, Jilin, Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, People's Republic of China. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North Hamgyong Province</span> Province of North Korea

North Hamgyong Province is the northernmost province of North Korea. The province was formed in 1896 from the northern half of the former Hamgyong Province.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Administrative divisions of North Korea</span> Overview of the administrative divisions of North Korea

The administrative divisions of North Korea are organized into three hierarchical levels. These divisions were created in 2002. Many of the units have equivalents in the system of South Korea. At the highest level are nine provinces and four special municipalities. The second-level divisions are cities, counties, and districts. These are further subdivided into third-level entities: towns, dongs (neighborhoods), ris (villages), and workers' districts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sinuiju Special Administrative Region</span> Place in Kwansŏ, North Korea

SinuijuSpecial Administrative Region was a planned special administrative region (SAR) of North Korea based in the city of Sinuiju. Proclaimed in 2002, the SAR was envisioned to be directly governed as in the case of "Directly Governed Cities" but has yet to be put into de facto operation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sonbong-guyok</span> Ward in Rasŏn-tŭkpyŏlsi, North Korea

Sŏnbong-guyŏk, formerly called Unggi, is a subdivision of the North Korean city of Rason. It is located at the northeastern extreme of North Korea, bordering Russia and China. It lies on Unggi Bay, an extension of the Sea of Japan. A uranium mine is allegedly located there, as is a 200 megawatt oil-fired power plant. The word Sonbong means "Vanguard" in Korean.

Rajin may refer to:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Musan County</span> County in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea

Musan County is a county in central North Hamgyong province, North Korea. It borders the People's Republic of China to the north, across the Tumen River. It is divided into one ŭp, six labor districts, and fifteen ri. The county seat is the town of Musan, Musan ŭp. Luguo and Dehua are the closest Chinese cities across the river.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kyongwon County</span> County in Kwanbuk, North Korea

Kyŏngwŏn County is a kun, or county, in North Hamgyong province, North Korea, located at 42°48′41″N130°11′58″E, formerly known as Saebyŏl. It is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the north and east, Kyonghung to the southeast, Hoeryong to the southwest, and Onsong to the west.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Songgan County</span> County in Chagang Province, North Korea

Songgan County is a kun, or county, in central Chagang province, North Korea. It borders Rangrim to the east, Wiwon to the west, Kanggye to the north and Chonchon and Ryongrim to the south. It was formed in 1952 from parts of Chonchon and Changgang, as part of a general reorganization of local government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hunchun</span> County-level city in Jilin, Peoples Republic of China

Hunchun is a county-level city in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, far eastern Jilin province. It borders North Korea and Russia, has over 250,000 inhabitants, and covers 5,145 square kilometers. The site of the eastern capital of the Balhae Kingdom between 785 and 793, Donggyeong, was located here.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sadong-guyok</span> District of Pyongyang, North Korea

Sadong-guyŏk, or Sadong District, is one of the 18 guyŏk, and one of the six, that constitute East Pyongyang, North Korea. It is on the eastern bank of the Taedong River, and the mouth of the Nam River. It is north of Ryŏkp'o-guyŏk, east of Taedonggang-guyŏk and north east of Tongdaewŏn-guyŏk. It was established in September 1959.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hyongjesan-guyok</span> District of Pyongyang, North Korea

Hyŏngjesan-guyŏk, or Hyŏngjesan District is one of the 19 guyŏk that constitute Pyongyang, North Korea.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ryokpo-guyok</span> Guyŏk of Pyongyang in Pyŏngyang-Chikhalsi, North Korea

Ryŏkp'o-guyŏk, or Ryŏkp'o District, is one of the 18 wards (guyŏk) that constitute Pyongyang, North Korea. This is where part of the Goguryeo tombs of Pyongyang can be found.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kaepung-guyok</span> Ward in Kaesŏng-Tŭkpyŏlsi, North Korea

Kaep'ung-guyŏk is a ward in Kaesong, North Korea. Formerly part of the Kaesong urban area, the county was merged with North Hwanghae when Kaesong was demoted in 2003. However, it was returned to Kaesong Special City in October 2019.

Rajin station is a railway station in Rajin-guyŏk, Rasŏn Special City, North Korea. It is the junction point and terminus of both the Hambuk and P'yŏngra lines of the Korean State Railway. It is also the starting point of a freight-only branchline to Rajin Port station.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hambuk Line</span> Railway line in North Korea

The Hambuk Line is an electrified standard-gauge trunk line of the Korean State Railway in North Korea, running from Ch'ŏngjin) on the P'yŏngra Line to Rajin, likewise on the P'yŏngra line.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hongui line</span> Line of the North Korean State Railway

The Hongŭi Line is an electrified standard-gauge secondary line of the North Korean State Railway running from Hongŭi on the Hambuk Line to Tumangang, which is the border station between North Korea and Russia. From Tumangang the line continues across the border to Khasan, Russia. The line from Tumangang to Rajin is double-tracked, including the entirety of the Hongŭi Line; during the recent renovation a 32 km section of dual Standard/Russian gauge was installed between Tumangang and Rajin stations. The entirety of the North Korean section of the line is located in Sŏnbong of Rasŏn Special City.

Rajin-guyŏk is a North Korean ward on Rason in the Sea of Japan in the North Pacific Ocean on the northeast tip of North Korea. It is in the Kwanbuk region and location in the south of Rason. North of it lies the North Korea–Russia border.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tumangang station</span> Railway station in North Korea

Tumangang station is a railway station in Tumangang-rodongjagu, Sŏnbong, Rasŏn Special City, North Korea, on the Hongŭi Line of the Korean State Railway.

Hongŭi station is a railway station in Hongŭi-ri, Sŏnbong, Rasŏn Special City, North Korea; it is the junction point of the Hongŭi and Hambuk lines of the Korean State Railway.


  1. 1 2 "Organizational Chart of North Korean Leadership" (PDF). Seoul: Political and Military Analysis Division, Intelligence and Analysis Bureau; Ministry of Unification. January 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "朝鲜罗先市" (in Chinese). 18 October 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Andray Abrahamian (September 2011). "Report on Rason Special Economic Zone" (PDF). Choson Exchange. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  4. Robinson, Thomas W (January 1982). "The Soviet Union and Asia in 1981". Asian Survey. A Survey of Asia in 1981: Part I. 22 (1): 13–32. doi:10.2307/2643707. JSTOR   2643707.
  5. Hodson, H. V.; Rose, Bishakha, eds. (1980). The Annual Register of World Events 1979. 221. Great Britain: Longmans Group Limited. pp. 104, 314. ISBN   0-8103-2023-1.
  6. "Rasun Becomes Special City". Daily NK. 5 January 2010. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012.
  7. "Strategic Implications of China's Access to the Rajin Port". The Jamestown Foundation. 18 March 2010. Archived from the original on 28 February 2011.
  8. "DPRK allows China domestic trade cargo to ship via its port". China Daily. 4 July 2011. Archived from the original on 19 August 2011.
  9. Wong, Edward (12 October 2011). "Tending a Small Patch of Capitalism in North Korea". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  10. "라선시 - 북한지명사전". North Korea Net. JoongAng Ilbo. Archived from the original on 29 August 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  11. "Climate: Rason". Climate-Data.org. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  12. "China leases Rason port for 10 years". North Korean Economy Watch. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  13. "Gambling as usual up North for Emperor Group casino". South China Morning Post. 30 October 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2020.


42°20′40″N130°23′04″E / 42.34444°N 130.38444°E / 42.34444; 130.38444