Rason (formerly Rajin-Sŏnbong; Korean pronunciation: [ɾa.sʌn, ɾa.dʑin.sʌn.boŋ]) is a North Korean city and ice-free port 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. The Soviet naval facilities were built starting in 1979. 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. What this means in practice is unclear.
Rason borders Hunchun county in Jilin province of China and Khasansky District in Primorsky Krai of Russia. China is making investments in the port as it gives it access to the Sea of Japan. 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. Coal is shipped from nearby Chinese mines to Shanghai. A casino by the sea caters to Chinese visitors.


Wikipedia, Blueballoon


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