Chagang

자강도

Geography

Chagang Province is located on the northern border of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It is bordered to the east by Ryanggang Province, to the south-east by South Hamgyong Province, to the south by South Pyongan Province and by North Pyongan Province to the west. The northern border of Chagang sits on the Amnok (Yalu) river and is opposite China's Jilin and Liaoning provinces.

The province is dominated by the Kangnam mountain range which covers the majority of the region. The range sits parallel to the Amnok river and sits between the Kaema highlands to the east and the flatlands to the west in North Pyongan.

Just over the provincial border to the south-west in North Pyongan is the famous Mt Myohyang which sits at the edge of the Kangnam range.

Economy

The economy of Chagang is primarily based on heavy industry, chemical industry, mining and other related disciplines. The region is too mountainous for agriculture, the limited amount of flat land means that the little farming which occurs is primarily livestock-based.

The mining industry is significant in the province; Chagang is the source for much of the country's lead, zinc, gold, copper and other important raw materials. The region is also a centre for timber processing, especially the provincial capital, Kanggye.

The other major population centres in the country are Manpo, a border city on the banks of the Amnok which has an economy based on timber processing and Huichon which is located in the far south-west and has an economy based on manufacturing as well as being the site of a major hydroelectric dam - Huichon No.2.

Manpo

Huichon

Kanggye

Huichon No.2 Hydroelectric Dam
Paiting of the capital city, Kanggye

Notable Sites

Little is know about Chagang Province. Foreigners are rarely permitted access to the vast majority of the province which has left it a curiously unknown region of the country.

The capital city, Kanggye, sits on the meeting point of 4 rivers, including the Changja river. The city centre is marked with the customary statues of the President Kim Il Sung and the General Kim Jong Il at the tributary of one river into the Changja.

One potential reason for the lack of information on Chagang is the potential number of high-security military facilities in the area.  In 2018, Chagang Province was designated a special 'Songun Revolutionary Zone' which would suggest the significant role played by the military in the region.

Revolutionary History

During the Korean War, the UN forces reached the Amnok river in Chagang Province shortly before the Chinese counter-attack which eventually drove them back to the 38th parallel.

There is a revolutionary site in Chosan county, Chagang dedicated to the President Kim Il Sung's father, Kim Hyong Jik who reportedly visited the site to meet with members of the Korean National Association - a political group set up to oppose the occupation by the Japanese imperial forces.

Manpo, as seen from the Chinese side of the Amnok
Hyangsan Hotel - the only place in Chagang open to foreign tourists
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