The Yalu River, also called the Amrok
River or Amnok River, is a river
on the border between
North Korea and China. Together with the Tumen
River to its east, and a small portion of Paektu Mountain, the Yalu
forms the border between
North Korea and
China and is notable as a
site involved in military conflicts such as the First Sino-Japanese
War, the Russo-Japanese War, World War II, and the Korean War.
6 See also
8 External links
There are two theories regarding the origin of the river's name. One
theory is that the name derived from "Yalv ula" in the Manchu
language. The Manchu word "Yalu" means "the boundary between two
countries". In Mandarin Chinese, "Yalu" phonetically approximates the
original Manchu word "Yalu", but literally means "Duck Green", which
was said to have been once the color of the river. The other theory is
that the river was named after the combination of its two upper
branches, which were called "鴨" (Ya or Ap) and "綠" (Lu or R(or
Revised Romanization of Korean
Revised Romanization of Korean spelled it Amnokgang (Korean
pronunciation: [amnok.k͈aŋ]; "Amnok River") and Revised
Romanization of Hangeul spelled it Aprokgang (Korean
pronunciation: [amnok.k͈aŋ]; "Aprok River").
From 2500 m above sea level on
Paektu Mountain on the
North Korea border, the river flows south to
sweeping 130 km northwest to
Linjiang and then returning to a
more southerly route for a further 300 km to empty into the Korea
Dandong (China) and
Sinuiju (North Korea). The bordering
Chinese provinces are
Jilin and Liaoning.
The river is 795 km (493 mi) long and receives water from
over 30,000 km² of land. The Yalu's most significant tributaries
are the Changjin (장진강; 長津江), the Hochon (허천강;
虛川江), the Tongro (독로강; 禿魯江) and the Ai (瑷河)
Korea and the Hun from China. The river is not easily
navigable for most of its length. Most of the river freezes during
winter and can be crossed on foot.
The depth of the Yalu
River varies from some of the more shallow parts
on the eastern side in
Hyesan (1 metre) to the deeper parts of the
river near the Yellow Sea (2.5 metres). The estuary is the site of
River estuary Important Bird Area, identified as such by
There are 205 islands on the Yalu. A 1962 border treaty between North
China split the islands according to which ethnic group were
living on each island.
North Korea possesses 127 and
China 78. Due to
the division criteria, some islands such as Hwanggumpyong Island
North Korea but abut the Chinese side of the river.
North Korean village in the Yalu
Remains of bridge between
Sinuiju destroyed during the
The river basin is the site where the ancient Korean kingdom of
Goguryeo (Hangul: 고구려) rose to power. Many former fortresses are
located along the river and the former capital of that kingdom was
situated at what is now the medium-sized city of Ji'an,
the Yalu, a site rich in
Goguryeo era relics.
Wihwa Island on the river is historically famous as the place where in
1388, General Yi Songgye (later Taejo of Joseon) decided to turn back
his army southward to
Kaesong in the first of a series of revolts that
eventually led to the establishment of the House of Yi.
The river has been the site of several battles because of its
strategic location between
Korea and China, including:
Battle of the Yalu
River (1894) – First Sino-Japanese War
Battle of Yalu
River (1904) – Russo-Japanese War
Battle near to the Yalu
River (1950) – Korean War
The Korean side of the river was heavily industrialized during the
period of Japanese rule (1910–1945), and by 1945 almost 20% of
Imperial Japan's total industrial output originated in Korea. During
the Korean War, the movement of
United Nations troops approaching the
river precipitated massive Chinese intervention from around Dandong.
In the course of the conflict every bridge across the river except one
was destroyed. The one remaining bridge was the Sino–Korean
Friendship Bridge connecting Sinuiju,
North Korea to Dandong, China.
During the war the valley surrounding the western end of the river
also became the focal point of a series of dogfights for air
superiority over North Korea, earning the nickname "MiG Alley" in
reference to the MiG-15 fighters flown by the combined North Korean,
Chinese and Soviet forces.
It was the advance of UN forces during the
Korean War toward the Yalu
which allowed Chairman
Mao Zedong to convince his people that China
needed to intervene over fears of an American invasion, since toppling
communism was one of America's stated goals and
Douglas MacArthur had
expressed his desire to expand the war into China.
The river has frequently been crossed by North Koreans fleeing to
China since the early 1990s, although the Tumen
River is the most used
Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge
Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge across the Yalu (Amnokgang) at
Sinuiju and Dandong
The river is important for hydroelectric power, and one of the largest
hydroelectric dams in Asia is in Sup'ung Dam, 106 m high and over
850 m long, located upstream from Sinuiju, North Korea. The dam
has created an artificial lake over a portion of the river, called
Sapung Lake. In addition the river is used for transportation,
particularly of lumber from its forested banks. The river provides
fish for the local population. Downstream of Sup'ung is the Taipingwan
Dam. Upstream of Sup'ung is the Yunfeng Dam. Both dams produce
hydroelectric power as well.
In the river delta upstream from
Dandong and adjacent to Hushan, there
are several North Korean villages. Economic conditions in these
villages have been described as poor, without access to
Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, Dandong,
China – Sinŭiju, North
River Border Railway Bridge, Ji'an
China – Manp'o, North
River Bridge, under construction between Dandong,
Sinŭiju, North Korea
North Korea border
Geography of China
Geography of North Korea
List of China-related topics
List of Korea-related topics
List of rivers of Asia
^ Entire paragraph taken from Earth Snapshot Website. (March 25,
2011). Sediments in
Korea Bay and Incheon Bay, North and South Korea.
Retrieved from http://www.eosnap.com/tag/yalu-river/
^ "A trip to the North Korea-
China border, in photos". NK News. 29 May
^ Encyclopædia Britannica. (December 5, 2011). Yalu River. Retrieved
River estuary". Important Bird Areas factsheet. BirdLife
International. 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
^ Jeong Woo-sang (10 June 2011). "What Is Hwanggumpyong Island?".
Digital Chosun. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
^ "We took a boatride on the Yalu
River across the Sino-Korean Border.
Here's what we saw". visitthedprk.org.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yalu River.
"Ya-lu-kiang". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
Northeast Normal University
Jilin Normal University
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Mausoleum of Princess Jeonghyo
Major rivers of China
Seven Great Rivers of Eastern China
Yangtze · Yellow · Pearl · Heilongjiang · Huai · Hai · Liao
Other major rivers
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North Jiangsu Main Irrigation Canal